Friday, February 18, 2005

The Schill returns to show 'em how it's done

Curt Schilling arrived at Spring Training yesterday sporting a Tedy Bruschi shirt and ready to get on track to pitch opening day, according to Curt feels good, David Wells (with whom he was playing catch) says his throws feel good and I'm pretty psyched. Might as well have your best when going up against the Yankees on Opening Day, especially after the ending to the '04 season.

In other controversy, the Sox Front Office is apparently considering giving out the rings for last season's World Series victory not during the home opener, but during a separate ceremony because the game is against the Yankees. The thing is, of course, that there's a question of whether or not there was ever an intention of doing the ceremony on opening day - the entire thing came out of a quote from Dr. Charles Steinberg, Executive VP of Public Affairs in the Boston Herald that it wouldn't be appropriate to present the rings during the Yankee's first visit to Fenway of the '05 season. There are rumors that the rings won't even be done for the home opener, rending the point moot and there's the question of where the assumption that this was a home opener ceremony came from. The Front Office is currently considering its options, which might including doing it on a different day as a fundraiser. My take: if the Sox are choosing not to do the ceremony because they don't want to show up the Yankees, then they're being a bit too PC. With the players and the papers flinging barbs back and forth recently, it's pretty clear the rivalry is quite healthy and that opening day in New York and in Boston will both be a lot of fun. If any of the other reasons are true (it was never planned that way, the rings won't be ready, etc.), then clearly the fault is with the Herald for making such a fuss and Dr. Steinberg for giving misleading statements. GO SOX!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Book Review of Faithful by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King

My Rating: A damn good way to relive the 2004 season.

My favorite thing about this book is the interplay between the two authors. King and O'Nan switch off in their coverage but manage to give their own separate viewpoints on each game, interspersing the blog-type format with transcriptions from emails between games. King's material is written in bold type so it's easy to distinguish the two writers but even without the formatting, it's pretty easy to tell the two apart and that's one of the strengths of this book. If one was to make an analogy to sports commentators, O'Nan is the chronicler, the main commentator who does most of the documentation about what goes on during any one game. King is the color commentator, adding his own odd and amusing spin to the season. Together, they do an excellent job of covering the ups and downs of the season. It's also a lot of fun to remember the games they're describing - the game against Tampa Bay that the Sox won because the Rays' starting pitcher was thrown out for hitting Kevin Millar, for example - and you end up with a neat "I was here at such-and-such a place when that happened! I remember that really well!" Kinda like people remembering where they were during the Kennedy Assasination, only less morbid.

I felt like I really got to know both writers through this book, much more than I would have through in a more formal writing format. Again, this was a really appropriate setup for this kind of book - you want the readers to relate to the writers as fans as much as possible so that the shared experience of watching the Sox comes through as much as possible. Again, having the two different styles of writing helped in the relation aspect as well; you don't have a dry chronicle or something goofy that doesn't really cover the details of the season well, but something in the middle that is really, really good. As much as possible, it's the sort of model I want to follow as I continue to write about baseball myself.

One thing I noticed and I'm not so sure this is a complaint: the mid-season collapse didn't seem as bad the second time around as when I was living it. I'm not sure if this is because I was being overly dramatic about the whole experience (even looking back at my blog posts from the time, I still get a sense of how upset I was) or just a different perspective improved with some post-season editing, but it does make for some easier reading. In sum, though, this isn't a bad thing at all. Go and read this book.