My 30 Minutes Of Fame

So Monday afternoon, I get an email that has been forwarded to me by a friend of mine who owns another Red Sox fan site.  A request had come to him from a Utica (NY) radio news/sports station, WIBX 950, to break down the upcoming Red Sox season.  He wasn’t readily available to do it, so he told them to contact me about the opportunity.  Seeing this as an opportunity to talk Sox with some fellow sports nuts, I more than happily said: Yes!

Just before 6:10 this evening, I got the call from the director and host, Dave Richards, who put me on hold and then gave a nice intro before allowing me to step in, introduce myself, and start answering questions about the club.  It was great!  They asked me my thoughts on everything: the changes in the clubhouse, the different players, the race for the AL East title, who might be the X-factor this season, and many other subjects.  Unbelieveably, we talked for just over a half-hour with no commercial breaks; whether that was intended or not, I don’t know but, per usual, I had plenty to say!  Of course, they made sure to plug my site about a dozen times or so, so I can only hope that it draws a few more visitors to FenwayFanatics.com!

Afterwards, I asked whether they might have a copy of the segment but, unfortunately, they don’t tape it unless it’s requested (my fault).  However, I do have witness to the event: my sister-in-law, Sheila, and her three kids, Ryan, Cody, and Heather, all listened to the broadcast down the road apiece in Fort Plain.  Sheila called immediately after it ended and told us that it sounded great; just for fun, she also told me that I have the face for radio. (heh!)

I also got a nice email afterwards from Dave who thanked me a thousand times over for helping upstate New York prepare from another Red Sox season (heh!).  He also told me that he might give me a call later in the season and have me talk about the team again, so perhaps my fame won’t be fleeting?  I guess we’ll see; for now, I’ll enjoy the moment.

Spring Has Sprung?

Well, here we are with the spring equinox upon us and, at present, the temperature outside is 28°C.  Hmmm, that doesn’t seem right – oh, wait!  We’re in New England, where we usually skip the spring weather and go straight to summer around late May.

The basement project is coming along well with 99% of the wallboard in place.  We still need to finish the bathroom but we are waiting for our contractor to mount the basin of what will be our shower stall.  Hopefully that will happen shortly because as soon as we are ready, the mud-and-tape guy should be here to do his work.  We are all anxious to have the work done but, if anything has come out of this project, we have learned that patience pays off in the end.

Tiffany is close to having Lea fully weaned so she should be getting off the diet from hell shortly; five months with no eggs, butter, dairy, chocolate, and a few other things have been a real challenge for her.  Heck, it would be a challenge for just about anyone!  Lea has now switched to a special formula that costs about $40 a can but we managed to get Blue Cross to cover that expense.  Fortunately, she should really need it only for about another six months and then she will hopefully be free of those dietary restrictions as well.

The Red Sox are now just 13 days from Opening Day in Arlington, TX where they will face the Rangers.  Fan favorite Bronson Arroyo was traded yesterday to Cincinnati for utility outfielder Wily Mo Pena.  Arroyo had signed a three-year “discounted” deal worth approximately $12 million a couple of months ago in the hopes of staying in Boston but, with a bulk of starting pitchers at their disposal and the need for a fifth outfielder, the deal makes sense for the Sox.

 As for Pena, he is young (24) and is known for his power numbers (19 home runs in just 99 games last season), but he also lacks plate discipline (128 strikeouts last season).  However, Boston hitting coach Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson has worked wonders with the likes of David Ortiz, who was criticized for similar faults just a few short years ago, and may yet turn Pena into another right-handed threat in the lineup.

Do You Feel That?

It’s the collective buzz that’s growing with the Red Sox only four weeks away from Opening Day 2006 at Fenway Park.  Now, this year, there won’t be any unveiling of a World Series championship pennant but, nevertheless, the first home game in Boston signifies that we are that much closer to longer days, warmer nights, and weekend visits to a 94-year-old park that once witnessed the likes of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Carl Yastrzemski playing long toss on the outfield grass.

Of course, around here, people talk baseball nearly 365 days a year, no make how many championships the Patriots are winning or how well the men’s and women’s teams over on Chestnut Hill are playing (both getting an invite to March Madness this year after their inagural seasons in the ACC – congratulations to them!).  Of course, with the Bruins playing dreadful hockey and the Celtics needing a full-court press to make the playoffs, we can hardly wait until those spring training exhibitions are a distant memory and the games become meaningful again.

All I know is that, sometime in April, we’ll be making our way down to Lansdowne Street, walking through Gate E, and finding our seats in Section 29 for yet another season in the sun.  Can’t hardly wait!

That’s Just Sick

Somewhere, someone is putting something in the water because, once more, we are in the throws of another bout with a cold.  First, Jakob and Lea got it, of course, and then Tiffany fell ill on Saturday.  Luckily, here we are on Monday evening and she is feeling much better as are the kids.  Somehow, Jeff has escaped this round.

It just seems like, since Christmas, hardly a day has gone by without someone being under the weather.  First, we had a rather nasty cold virus hit us just after Christmas that lingered for a couple of weeks.  Then, in mid-February, we all came down with what seemed like the same thing.  The likely culprit has been the up-and-down weather this winter; usually the ponds freeze solid by early December and don’t thaw until late March or early April, but this year we’ve had several warm spells, with warm being a relative term (40 °F or so).  In fact, Friday it got up into the low 70s here, which was great for taking the kids for a stroll around the block, something that we haven’t done in a long time.

Well, we are looking forward to the coming weekend when we will be joining Jeff’s parents at the Portland (ME) Boat Show.  We aren’t in the market but it’s interesting to see all the big power boats and should be fun for Jakob.  Plus, the hotel where we will be staying has a nice pool, so that should be fun for everyone!

Kirby Puckett 1960-2006

Kirby Puckett 1960-2006For anyone who has followed baseball knows, Kirby Puckett was one of the good guys.  He always seemed to have a wide grin on his face but he was a gamer, winning six Gold Gloves and helping the Minnesota Twins win two World Series championships in 1987 and 1991.  Were it not for glaucoma in his right eye that ended his career in what seemed like an instant, he might have played even longer and easily amass 3,000 hits.  However, he was the caliber player that eventually made him a Hall of Fame inductee in 2001.

It is with a heavy heart that we learn of his passing at the tender age of 45 due to complications from a massive stroke that he suffered on Sunday.  It doesn’t matter what team is your favorite – everyone should root for Kirby as he leaves this playing field and moves on to that diamond in the sky.

I would only hope that every team from Major League Baseball does something to reflect on his passing; he is due that honor.

Framed

Been FramedMore work in the basement was done this weekend with help from Jeff’s mom.  As Tiffany kept the kids at bay, the framework in the laundry room was finally completed, though it was tricky trying to work around the dryer which we kept connected to the natural gas line; lucky for us, nothing went boom.  We also framed two out of the three windows on the southwest side of the house and installed wallboard in one of them to give it a more “finished” look.  Little by little, it comes together…

Now we have more incentive to finish hanging the wallboard.  Friday afternoon, we had a mud and tape guy come and look over what we wanted done and he was going to get back to our contractor with a quote.  He was supposed to have come the previous Friday but went to the wrong house.  In fact, he went to the house just behind us – perhaps we need to oversize the house number?

The Grapefruit League season is finally underway and the Red Sox are 2-3 through Sunday, with the only two wins coming against Boston College and Northeastern.  Of course, those technically do not count in the standings so they are really 0-3 but, then again, preseason games count for nothing in the regular season.  Right now, quite a few players, like Jason Varitek and Julian Tavarez, are off playing in the World Baseball Classic which runs through the next two to three weeks.  Plus, the preseason games now tend to serve a purpose more to review the farm talent and see who might be a potential mid-season call-up if a regular goes on the DL.

Two good things recently out of camp: Manny Ramirez reported as promised on 01 March and David Wells said that he would pitch for Boston this season, dropping his request for a trade.  All is well in Red Sox Nation…

Fixing A Hole

So Saturday morning, I go into the basement and peer into the walkout that goes out to the backyard and I’m thinking that I need to make a hole when the forecast calls for one to three inches of snow later that day.  Well, luckily it was an easy repair but what made me decide suddenly to work out there where I haven’t even given it much thought in the past six months is beyond me.

Long story short, the foundation, or lack thereof, meant that the base of the walkout was essentially resting on the ground and, over the years, the wood had rotted.  So, using some pressure treated wood, some cement board, and a mixture of cement, I built up a new foundation that will most certainly stop further damage and keep moisture, critters, etc. out of the basement.

One of these days, I need to get some photos posted here of the work that we’ve done.  There is still much to do but we are getting closer and closer to a final product.  We were suppose to have a mud-and-tape guy come on Friday afternoon to look over the job and quote us a price but he either forgot the appointment or was held up for some other reason.  Whatever the reason, our general contractor will look into it and hopefully resolve the situation early this week.

The first Red Sox spring training game is scheduled for THursday against Minnesota!  Makes you forget for a moment that the temperature is only 4 degrees outside (without accounting for wind chill).  At least one writer from Fox Sports, Dayn Perry, has Boston winning the East this year, and why not?  Even with Damon off to the Yanks, Boston still has a potent offensive, the defense is much improved in the infield, and both the starting rotation and bullpen look solid.  They’re even a little younger, which never hurts over a long season, eh?

Missed Us?

Well, it’s been some time since we posted but we again caught a nasty cold virus that put us all out of commission for a week or so.  Not that we couldn’t post something, but how much do you want to read about those gory details?

So obviosuly, given the circumstances, there has been little progress in the basement since earlier in the month.  Hopefully we will be back down there this weekend getting the door frames in place and the rest of the family room sheet-rocked.  We also have a mud-and-tape guy coming this afternoon to give us a quote on doing that task when we are ready for that.

On a brighter note, Red Sox spring training is fully underway.  Pitchers and catchers reported late last week and the rest of the team (sans Manny Ramirez, who won’t be in camp until 01 March) showed up yesterday.  The first spring training game is one week from today against Minnesota and the excitement of a season yet to commence has everyone in Red Sox Nation waking up from the restless slumber of the last month or so, with the Patriots having made an early exit from the playoffs and the Celts and Bruins playing less-than-stellar basketball and hockey, respectively.

Other good news on the homefront is that Lea’s acid reflux finally appears to be under control.  The specialty doctor that she’s been seeing for the past four months finally gave the green light, so Tiffany is in the process of weaning Lea and switching here to a special formula.  She’s also ready from stage 1 baby food and has already been having rice cereal for a few weeks.  She also seems to be sleeping better at night which, of course, is a huge plus.  Jakob, meanwhile, is still attempting to be trained on the potty but that’s seen limited success – good days and bad, which is not unexpected as we’ve been told by others.

Hopefully everyone is well elsewhere!  Catch you later…