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The Hangover’s 2010 Person of the Year: Theo Epstein

22 Dec

The Hangover’s 2010 Person of the Year is Theo Epstein, General Manager of the Boston Red Sox.  It might seem odd for the Hangover to tout the GM of a baseball team when so many are doing so much in the world.  But Epstein did something that few others on the national stage have the intestinal fortitude (in the words of Gorilla Monsoon) to do:  Form a philosophy based on a set of beliefs and then stick to it, even when it is painful and unpopular to do so.    

When Epstein took over as GM of the Red Sox in 2003, he instituted an organizational approach based on player development, which could also be supplemented by key free agent acquisitions.   Prospects could be used as trade bait or to strengthen the major league team.   This strategy, Epstein maintained, would keep the Sox in contention most years.  It worked out okay in 2004, when the Sox won the World Series.  It also worked in 2007, when they won it again.

However, in 2006, Epstein briefly left the Red Sox because of interference from certain Sox higher-ups (read:  Larry Luchino) who wanted baseball decisions made with marketing and “buzz” impact in mind.  Only when owner John Henry worked things out so that Epstein could run the Sox his way, without interference, did Epstein come back to the team. Imagine that, a man with principles and integrity.  Many of The Hangover’s younger readers might not have heard of such a thing.

Which brings us 2010.  On the field, the year was a disaster for the Red Sox.  Injuries ravaged the team.  Important pitchers had sub-par seasons.  Some nights half of the lineup looked like they’d been called up from AA Portland.  Many pundits screamed that Epstein was short-changing Sox fans by playing young, unproven players and not going out and finding “major league” replacements.  Of course, they failed to realize that trading prospects for what would be overpriced “Band Aids” might hamstring the team for years to come.

By sticking to his philosophy, in the 2010 off-season Epstein was able to retool his team into one that is younger, more powerful, faster, better in the bullpen, and better defensively.  Sure, 2010 hurt; however, 2011 should be great (The Hangover is predicting an ’84 Tigers-type season).  But as we all know, (cliché alert) the games are played on the field, and (cliché alert) the games aren’t won on paper.  At least these moves should have the Sox challenging well into the future.  One can’t ask for more than that—unless, of course, you’re one of those living-in-Mom’s-basement, pre-2004 win-it-all-or-else fanatics.  If that’s the case, have another PBR and call WEEI. 

What sets Theo apart from just about every other public figure this year is that despite hardship, bad publicity, and public outcry, he stayed true to his vision.  He was willing to endure the slings and arrows of The Knights of the Keyboard, various talking heads, and countless knuckle-headed zealots.  This allowed him to place his organization on a course for long term success.  Has anyone in Washington heard of such a thing? 

Let’s compare Theo to some other public figures in 2010: 

President Obama sells out the public option of his health care plan before he even brings it to Congress.  His health care makeover creates more business for insurance companies, while claiming health care “should be a right for every American.”   The Hangover fails to see how that jibes. 

Obama then agrees to a tax cut (extending the Bush tax cuts) for the wealthiest 5% of Americans, despite saying, “I’m still opposed to it.”  The Hangover’s glad he’s not running the Sox.  Admittedly, it’s a compromise with Republicans so that unemployment benefits can be extended for two million other Americans.  Of course, Obama could have taken the fight to the airwaves and the American people.  Perhaps a populist outcry could have broken Republican opposition.  Coincidentally, it’s the five percent getting the break who contribute the most to presidential and congressional campaigns. 

Let’s not forget the Republicans and Tea-Partiers, who are intent on doing two things:  cutting the deficit and lowering taxes.  Enough said.

 President Obama recently stated: 

“We’ve got to make some difficult choices ahead when it comes to tackling the deficit. In some ways, this [tax cut deal/”compromise”] was easier than some of the tougher choices we’re going to have to make next year.”

No kidding, and with the integrity that Washington’s show this year, good luck with that.

Perhaps someone could invite The Hangover’s 2010 person of the year, Theo Epstein, to our nation’s capitol.  He might be able tell our leaders that it is important to form a set of values and beliefs based on thoughtful consideration, intellect, and logic.  Then he could reiterate the importance of maintaining that philosophy, even if it might not be popular to do so.  Perhaps he could introduce them to “long term planning” and “responsibility.”  If he shows them his shiny World Series rings, they might even listen. 

Then again, Theo Epstein’s biggest worry isn’t about getting re-elected.  He’s only trying to do what he knows is right.  And in 2010, that’s a singular quality.

Theo Epstein with the 2007 World Series trophy. Perhaps if our leaders in Washington knew they could get things like trophies as a reward, they might show some interest in long term planning.

Bud Selig: Baseball Hero

13 Feb

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has come out with this definitive statement on the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal:  A-Rod   has “shamed the game.”   The reverberations of Bud’s comments will shake the foundation of the sport to its performance-enhanced roots.  What shortstop pocketing millions of dollars could live with himself knowing that if he shoots himself in the ass with  HGH he’ll cast a shadow over the game?

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt was recently suspended for saying that Selig was “someone who looks like a computer programmer, substitute teacher or government worker” and that Selig’s 18.5 million dollar salary caused Van Pelt to choke on his own vomit.  Van Pelt continued by stating that Selig was a “pimp for real. He probably has a chalice with ‘B-U-D’ spelled out in jewels and diamonds. You drink from a chalice if you’re a pimp.”   Van Pelt couldn’t have been more wrong.  Pimps have girls and hookers and whores.  Bud only supervised drug users.  He just didn’t realize it.   And no one can blame him for that:  He was a car dealer, not McNulty from The Wire.   

There was no way Bud could have known that drugs had infiltrated his sport.  He was not yet commissioner and wasn’t in Fenway when 30,000 Sox fans chanted “STER-OIDS” at Jose Canseco in the 1990 playoffs.   Apparently, the average drunken Bostonain realized something that neither baseball executives  nor sportswriters could figure out.  But the well-above-average intelligence of Northeasterners should not reflect poorly on Bud. 

Of course, there were the proportionally increasing size of players and home run totals.   Starting in 1999, the record for number of homers  passed 61 (established in 1961) with Mark Mcgwire’s 65, eventually landing on Barry Bond’s 73 in 2001.   During that time McGwire went from ” big guy” to “muscle bound freak,” and a once-normal Bonds turned into the Incredible Hulk with a Volkswagen Bug for a head.   One can surmise that Bud was busy investigating if baseballs had become too tightly wound and why there were so many bad pitchers, the most likely explanations for all the long balls. 

Ultimately, however, Bud can take credit for exposing the performance enhancing drug problem in the sport.  If not for Selig’s complete ignorance of the issue, Jose Canseco’s memoir, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, would have never had the impact it did.  Upon the book’s release, Congress felt compelled to step in and address the problem, with Bud doing his best impression of Captain Binghamtom in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  No, Bud didn’t come off as knowing anything or having a clue, but by the nature of his exemplary ineptness, he brought about the machinations that have begun to clean up the sport.  

Now when Bud talks, baseball listens.  Right after it stops laughing.

Capt. Wallace B. Binghamton and Bud Selig

Two American Heroes: Capt. Wallace B. Binghamton and Bud Selig

The Hangover’s Christmas List

21 Dec

You’ve got to love a holiday named after a wine-swilling, long-haired, no-shoes-wearing carpenter.  And there are presents.  In honor of the holiday, The Hangover offers our own Christmas list.  And in the true spirit of the holiday, it is better to give than receive. 

For Terrel Owens:  A punch in the mouth. You’d think that Tony Romo or Jason Witten or somebody on that team would have had the balls to tell TO to shut up and then drop him with a right cross.  (Is Bum Phillips still alive?  Could he take care of this for Wade?)

For the State of Maine:  Less Taxes, Better Government.   We know, good luck with that one.

For Religous Extremists (be they Christian, Muslim, Pagans, Jews, Sun-Worshippers, Followers of Satan, or actual card carrying members of Red Sox Nation):  Less scripture, More action (from their respective deities).  Doesn’t fanatical worship sully the very God that it profess to follow?  Wouldn’t these various Gods be tired of people acting like complete fucking idiots in their names?  Shouldn’t  these Gods have had enough of this bullshit and smite their “extreme” followers from the planet?  Lightning bolts, now, goddamnit!

For The Boston Celtics:  Good Health.  The rest will take care of itself.

For Kathryn Tappen:  More sweaters of the shade (some sort of yellowish white) that she wore yesterday during the 12/20/08 Bruins-Hurricanes telecast.  Amazing.  A high-def Goddess if there ever was one.

For Barack Obama:  The cajones to swing back to the left after these mandatory first two years of centrism.

For Kennebunkport:  Less Development.  Do we have to turn every open space not owned by the Conservation Trust into either a neighborhood of McMansions or a psuedo-tony resort?

For the Red Sox Marketing Team:  A long, long, long vacation.  Two years ought to be enough.  We don’t need any hats with socks on them.  We could use a better ticket-buying site, however.  Or at least one that doesn’t have to blame its lack of functionality on “high transaction volume.”  What with the exciting new hats, you didn’t think people would want to buy tickets, too?

For the Red Sox:  Derek Lowe.  Give us a great pitcher who excels in big games, under pressure, and who wants to play here.  And we’ll take a refurbished Mike Lowell, too.  The hell with Mark Teixeira.  The only thing he’s led the league in is “Speculative news media stories on where Mark Texiera will land.”  Pitching wins and Lowe is a winning pitcher.

For News Editors of Television Weather Reports:  A grip.  Hangover Headquarters is in Maine.  It snows here.  It always has.  Every time a flake hits the atmosphere, we don’t need panicked, poker-up-the-ass anchor people screaming “storm warning,” “winter storm watch,” or “extreme weather event.”  If you want people to watch your insipid newscasts, try doing some actual reporting, or get better looking newspeople and have the women go topless and dress the men in Chippendale’s outfits.

For the Rolling Stones:  One last great album. I don’t mean pretty good, either.  Voodoo Lounge was compared to Exile, but we all know Exile, and Voodoo Lounge is no Exile.  Every Stones album since Steel Wheels has been proclaimed in one way or another, hearkening back to the heyday of the Stones.  Simply not true.  The world could use another Exile on Main Street or Sticky Fingers.  Get on it, boys.

For the Readers of The Hangover:  Less hangovers, of the alcohol-induced head ache and vomiting kind.

For The Hangover:  More readers.  Then I can start pimping out the ad space and earn enough money to quit one of my days jobs.   Then I could completely sell out and turn into one of those despicable, loathsome individuals that I despise.  Wouldn’t that be grist for some interesting writing?

Red Sox Nation at Rest: All-Star Break ’08

14 Jul

The Hangover’s musings on the ’08 baseball season.

  • There should be no panic-worry-complaining from  Sox nation.  The team plays hard every night.  The lineup is good and the pitching is there.  Exciting young players are coming up through the system and contributing.  But it’s the pitching that means the Sox will be in the mix in October. Oh yeah, and they won the Series again last year.  Anyone bitching about this year’s model should be given 1950’s style shock therapy.
  • Give Jason Varitek a break.  He’s not a young man anymore but he’s being played like one.  He’s hitting .218 and throwing out less than 20% of base runner’s attempting to steal.  Hey, he’s 36–and he’s not Carlton Fisk (a freak of nature who played effectively into his 40’s).  The Sox will figure out that they need to cut his workload and give him two out of every five days off.  When they do, his numbers will rise.
  • Is there a Heidi Watney fan club?  If there is, The Hangover would like to join.  The Red Sox Insider report with Heidi and Amalie Benjamin is the no-doubt highlight of the NESN pre-game show.  In fact, The Hangover would  be glad to join the Amalie Benjamin fan club, too. 
  • Occasionally, the Hangover listens to a game on the radio.  While Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien do a good job describing the action, they can be tedious.  

          > When Castiglione is doing the play-by-play, every Sox out is imparted with the “I just found out    my mother-in-law is coming for the weekend” voice.  The “my dog just got hit by a car” tone pops up for bases loaded failures and the final out of the game.  Relax, Joe.  A loss isn’t the end of the world.

           > O’Brien, on the other hand, seems to know what’s going on in every player and manager’s head.  He’s constantly stating, “There’s nothing that Terry Francona wants more than…” or “Dustin Pedroia would really like to…”  Hey, stick to the action.  The Amazing Kreskin should have retired with Johnny Carson.

            >  Dale Arnold, on his nights, is fine.  He gives the details and describes the game without the pathetic tones or a know-it-all attitude.  And he can be humorous while doing so.  A real bonus, considering.

  • Give Hank Steinbrenner some credit.  It was a no-brainer to turn Joba Chamberlain into a starter.  He’s big, strong, and has more than two good pitches.  By the end of the year, he’ll be the Yankees #1 starter.  And if the owner has to stick his nose in to get things done, hey, it’s his team.
  • We all know about how the Sox need to extract every dollar from their ballpark and broadcasts so that they can compete with the dreaded, rich Yankees.  But enough with the sponsorships and marketing.  How long will it be before Remy and Orsillo are discussing the Papelbon “Fed Ex” fastball for strike three?  Or the Wakefield “Isotoner” knuckleball?  Can the “Jiffy Lube” slider be far off?  This will be a certain boon for Wendy’s who can sponsor every single, double, and triple.
  • The Hangover closes this post by taking a look at the American League all-star infield.  On the left, there are the Yankees Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  On the right, the Sox Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.  Let’s go over the stats:

Jeter and A-Fraud:  Combined Production:  .296, 24 HR, 95 RBI; Combined Salaries:  49.6 Million dollars.

Pedroia and Youkilis:  Combined Production:  .314, 24 HR, 110 RBI; Combined Salaries:  3.45 Million dollars.

Yikes.  At 7% of the cost, the Sox pair exceeds the production of the Yankees starters.  And we all know what happens to A-Fraud in October. 

When evaluating players, one must consider the all-important (and Hangover original) RPY (Rings per Year) stat.  Jeter and A-Fraud have a combined 27 years in the league with 4 Series victories between them for a RPY  of .148.   Pedroia and Youkilis have a combined 5 years in the league with three Series victories between them for a RPY of .600, an enormous edge for the Sox pair.  This Saxony Stat of the Season is brought to you by Saxony Imports of Kennebunkport, Maine, the place to shop in Kennebunkport, located just over the bridge in Dock Square. 

(Sorry, but expanding revenue streams works for the Sox, and The Hangover must compete with the dreaded, rich,, The Onion, etc..,.  )

My Name is Nomar

29 Apr

It was a sad moment last Saturday when The Hangover was forced to put Nomar Garciaparra on the Disabled List of his fantasy baseball team, The Killer Rabbits.  (It was probably even sadder for Nomar’s real team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Yes, The Hangover is a minor fantasy geek, but what would you expect from someone who has a blog?)  It was probably silly to draft him in the first place, considering his performance the last few years.  But looking over the list of players, his name brought to mind the Nomar of ’97 to ’03, when he was one of the best players in baseball.  In hindsight, it was pathetically optimistic to believe that Nomar could reclaim those Red Sox glory years, when he was Rookie of the Year in 1997, a five time all-star, winning batting titles in 1999 and 2000, hitting 35 home runs in 1998,  and playing unbelievable defense.  I saw that player just about every night for seven years.  But Nomar is now an oft-injured shell of his former self.   When The Hangover thinks of Nomar, he’s reminded of Earl Hickey.

No, Earl Hickey is not a long forgotten shortstop for the 1939 St. Louis Browns.  He is the character created and played by actor Jason Lee on the NBC show, “My Name is Earl.”  Earl Hickey was a dirt bag, petty thief who never caught a break.  An unlikely chain of events put him in a hospital bed where he watched Carson Daly talk about karma on television.  Earl had an epiphany.  He would make a list of all the things he had done wrong in his life and correct them, one by one, and perhaps his life would improve.  As luck (or karma) would have it, once he starting crossing these nefarious acts off his list, things changed for the better.  Professionally speaking, Nomar Garciaparra is Earl Hickey–only in reverse.  

2004 was a contract year for Nomar, by then one of the Red Sox all-time greats.  In 2003, the Red Sox offered him a four year deal starting in 2005 at a rate of 15 million a year.  At the time, Nomar was considered one of the three best in the game at his position.  Ahead of him was Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in the game ( 25 million per season), and also the most productive.  Derek Jeter, who had won four World Series rings by then, was also being paid more (19 million per season).   It was a fair offer.  Nomar turned it down.  Then he became bitter about it.  And that’s when karma starting kicking Nomar in the ass. 

As Seth Mnookin details in this excerpt from his book, “Feeding the Monster,” Nomar became alienated from the Sox.   A market shift before the start of the 2004 resulted in a new offer from the team, only at 12 million a year.  Garciaparra was asking for 17 million.  (The fourth best shortstop, Miguel Tejada, signed a contract that off-season for 12 million.)  The Red Sox also explored trading for A-Rod, which further distanced and upset Nomar.  Then Garciaparra injured his ankle in Spring Training.  He couldn’t seem to get on the field, missing approximately 60% of the regular season games.  Sox management worried that Nomar was more concerned with being healthy as a free agent in November than playing throughout the season.  He began to despise the town, the team, and the fans that adored him.  Eventually, Nomar was dealt at the deadline for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz.  The Red Sox went on to win their first World Series since 1918.

This is what happened to Nomar once he rejected that 15 million dollar a year contract and, in the words of Earl Hickey, turned karma against him:

2003:  Sox fall to Yankees in Game Seven of ALCS.  (Nomar hit .241, struck out eight times, and had 1 rbi in the series.)

2004: Hurts ankle in spring training.  Misses games.  Traded to Cubs, Sox win Series.

2005:  Signs with Cubs for 8.25 million.  Plays only 62 games, hits .283 with 30 rbi.

2006:  Signs with Dodgers for 6.0 million.  Makes All Star team.   Plays only 122 games, but hits .303 with 20 HR.  In only non-Sox playoff appearance hits .222 as Dodgers are swept by Mets. 

2007:  Signs with Dodgers for 8.25 million.  Plays only 120 games, hits .283 with 7 HR.

2008:  Signed for 9.5 million.  Still in April, batting .226, already on the DL twice. 

It’s obvious that Nomar isn’t what he used to be.  But The Hangover remembers when he was The Man in Boston, honored by all from Saturday Night Live to Newberry Street.  We chanted “Nomar’s better” when Jeter hit in Fenway.  The Hangover Jr. took his first swings in the backyard in his Nomar shirt, mimicking the famous toe-tapping, glove adjusting batting routine.  Nomar was once a sure hall-of-famer.   Now, he can’t even get through the first month of the season.   The Killer Rabbits may suffer, but The Hangover believes there must be some way for Nomar to change his karma.  He could start by releasing any bitterness harbored against the Red Sox and the fandom that once revered him.  If the fictional Earl Hickey can become a better man, then Nomar can be again what he once was.   

Greetings From Fenway Park: Red Sox Opening Day 2008

9 Apr

The Boston Red Sox celebrated the beginning of the ’08 season and the Series victory of ’07 yesterday in fine fashion.  The Hangover was in attendance.  Our random thoughts are presented below.

  • It was great having Bill Buckner throw out the first pitch.  As reported in the Boston Globe, it meant a lot to him.  Anyone with a clue knows that the ’86 Series defeat was not his fault.  He played his ass off that fall on one healthy ankle.  There’s plenty of blame to go around for ’86, most of which the Hangover heaps on the inept managing of John MacNamara.  If he had brought Oil Can Boyd in to relieve Hurst in game Seven, victory would have been ours.  There’s no way the Can isn’t at his absolute best at that moment.
  • The ring ceremony was well paced and compelling.  The athletes representing the various teams were well chosen; it was great that they weren’t all superstars.  Anytime you can put Bill Russell, Johnny “Pie” McKenzie, Larry Izzo, Curtis Lescanic, and Bobby Orr together, it will be a moment to remember. Of course, you could put Bobby Orr out there with the Timberlane High Chess Team and it would be a moment to remember. 
  • Is there a reason the Sox can’t retire Johnny Pesky’s number 6?  He’s worked for them for 50 years, he was a great player (if not a Hall of Famer), and he’s managed and coached and a large number of Sox players from Boggs to Schilling have thanked Pesky for his contributions.  He deserves more than a minor league field in Fort Myers.  What more does the guy have to do?
  • In honor of a certain history professor at Wichita State in Kansas, The Hangover took part in a Tastycakes promotion where a small donation resulted in a free pack of Krimpets. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
  • The A. Rodriguez-attacking hawk made an appearance early in the game.  It was applauded. 
  • The Red Sox this year are serving beer in the stands to season ticket holders in Field Box seats.  This is a great idea.  For what people are shelling out for those tickets they should be able to get a beer there–just like in EVERY OTHER MAJOR LEAGUE BALLPARK.  But what about the rest of us?  Although The Hangover wasn’t drinking at the game, seeing the beer vendor pass below without even a glance upward drew our ire.  Those in the not-as-expensive-(but surely not cheap)-seats shouldn’t have to waste an inning in the bowels of Fenway standing in line to pay $7.75 for a 16 ounce brew.  Do the Sox fear that those without Platinum cards and pedigrees will act out and become slurring Neanderthals if they are brought beer?  Will there be anarchy in the Grandstands, sponsored by Budweiser?  Will turmoil rumble through the upper boxes like a MIller Lite fueled tidal wave?   Come on, Sox, bring the beer to those who need it most–the poor, the downtrodden, the ones paying good money to sit everywhere else but the field boxes.  (Do you really want to see those grandstand customers in open revolt when it’s 90 degrees and the masses get a look at ice cold Heineken being served to the field seats? They’ll storm those poor beer vendors like the French rabble took the Bastille.)
  • Although The Hangover did not drink at Fenway, TH and associates did do some damage before the game.  Kudos to the bar staff at Eastern Standard who were professional, quick, friendly, and kept us sedated with American beer and Irish whiskey.   Well done.
  • The eighth inning Neil Diamond “Sweet Caroline” video was a hoot.  It could have used more Wally and less Tom Werner, however.
  • The eighth inning Neil Diamond “Sweet Caroline” video was an annoying promotional tool for his upcoming August concert in Fenway.  It could have used more Wally and less Tom Werner. 
  • Daisuke was in command, the team played some great defense, and there was timely hitting.  The resulting 5-0 shutout of the Tigers was a complement to the sun which made its first appearance in two weeks.   Life as it should be for Sox fans. 

To spare The Hangover a future rant:

  • Will someone please notify Red Sox management that the next time Bill Lee is at Fenway, they should be playing Warren Zevon’s song “Bill Lee” as his music, and not that mediocre Steve Miller goof:  “Space Cowboy.”   Lee has a song written for and about him by one of America’s greatest songwriters.  Use it. 

Sox Stud Set (With Pet) For Success

19 Mar

The Clay Buchholz gossip is ripping through New England and Red Sox Nation.  Several sources revealed that the young pitcher is dating 2008 Penthouse Pet of the Year Erica Ellyson. This first came out on the Howard Stern show a few days ago and then was confirmed by Buchholz’s dad on Boston’s WZLX.  That’s what The Hangover calls quality reporting.

One of The Hangover’s correspondents is worried by these developments.  He fears this relationship might be a nefarious plot to distract and discombobulate the rookie pitcher, engineered by the Yankees with Hank Steinbrenner (the brains) and Johnny Damon (the muscle) doing the dirty work of setting up the kid.  Sox Nation can rest easy, however.    

Being a shrewd judge of human nature and a student of history, The Hangover realizes this “hook up” practically insures that Buchholz will reach the potential he showed last season (by throwing a no-hitter).  The Hangover predicts that our man Clay will emerge as a dominating, top-of-the-rotation starter.  He’ll be a menace in October, too.

One needs to look no further than Josh Beckett to see what happens to a young Texas pitcher when he finds a knockout celebrity girlfriend.   Beckett has been linked to lingerie model and Fox Sports personality Leann Tweeden, as well as country singer Danielle Peck (who, as his ex-, sang the National Anthem before a playoff game he pitched and won against the Indians last fall, speaking of nefarious schemes).  Has there been a more dominating pitcher than Beckett in recent playoff history?  Certainly not.  The connection has to be more than coincidence.  Even the oft-injured Carl Pavano pitched the best ball of his career in the 2003 World Series, the exact point in time he began seeing Allysa Milano.  If this pitcher-goddess dynamic bears itself out with Buchholz (as The Hangover is certain it will), we recommend the Sox skip the White House next year and head straight for the Playboy Mansion.    

All signs point to a big year for Clay.  In every way possible. 

Sox Tickets Strike Out

27 Jan

With two World Series championships in the last four years, it should be against the law to complain about anything Red Sox in New England.  Clearly expectations have been exceeded to an exponential degree.  So has ticket demand.

Yesterday, single game tickets went on sale for the majority of the 2008 season.  The process is simple enough:  you log on at, either hit a Buy Tickets link and choose a game or click onto the schedule.  From there you advance to Purgatory on Yawkey Way:  The Virtual Waiting Room.  Apparently, millions of other people are trying to do the same thing at the same time.  Should you be lucky enough to be one of those randomly selected to advance from the VWR, you get a shot at tickets.

The Hangover logged on at approximately 10:15 yesterday morning.  When the Hangover retired for the evening at 10:45 (explaining why we’re called the Hangover and not Mr. Excitement) the VWR was still flawlessly preforming its 30-second reloading loop.  It even keeps you updated on the games that are sold out or have few seats left.  If only it would let you past its electronic gate. 

Upon awaking this morning, I found that my steadfast Dell had advanced and I was afforded the opportunity to trade some plastic for tickets.  Being a wise baseball fan, I discerned that going after a lousy team would be the best chance for the family Hangover to see some baseball.  How about a game versus the pathetic Royals on a Wednesday night in May?  Let’s face it, the kids won’t know the difference.  I selected four tickets, clicked on “Best Available,” and advanced past the anti-ticket agency barriers.

What I received was this:  “We’re sorry, we’re unable to process your request due to high transaction volumes.  Please try to submit your request again by hitting the CONTINUE button.”  (It happens to be the exact same message I encountered when purchasing tickets last year.)   

I hammered the CONTINUE harder than the Sox batters bashed the Rockies’ pitchers in game one of last year’s Series.  I had none of their luck, however.  I did try different games.  Eventually, I was graced with the opportunity to purchase four standing room tickets for an Orioles game.  No thanks.  I’ll pass.  The Seadogs are only thirty minutes away.

I won’t be barking at the set this season, telling Francona to take a starter out with two on and none out in the seventh.  He’s proven he knows what he’s doing.  I can’t say the same for those in the business office, who apparently failed to anticipate another year of Red Sox Nation storming cyberspace for tickets. 

“Hey, Larry!  If there’s a $14.5 million-per-year computer geek out there with big market, ‘high transaction volume’ experience, go get him.  Please.”