Fort Myers, FL- While many of the players are eager to break camp and begin the 2011 season, I am thrilled and lucky to be here in Florida to spend a few days digesting the massive operation that is spring training. Between the major leaguers that have been playing games for nearly a month now to the minor leaguers who are one week into competitive exhibitions, the entire Boston Red Sox organization is here in the City of Palms, preparing for the marathon summer that awaits.
Spring training is always a time of optimism, but also a time of uncertainty. Minor leaguers, in particular, are not privy to something as simple as where they will live for the next six months. Most players have a healthy hunch and are able to presume their next step up the ladder, but nothing is written in stone, even after spending weeks partaking in the Fort Myers routine.
Though he has not completely let his guard down, pitcher Jason Rice is probably one of the more comfortable Sox in camp. The 5’10” flamethrower has earned his status as one of the organization’s top arms, a progression that began in Salem in 2009. A Rule 5 draft pick from the White Sox, Rice’s Red Sox debut made a big splash.
The California-native struck out 94 in 70 innings and compiled a 2.44 ERA for the Salem Sox in 2009. Last year, he backed up those numbers with a sterling performance in Double-A that earned him a spot on the Eastern League All-Star team. More importantly, perhaps, he was named the 2010 Portland Sea Dogs Citizen of the Year, a tribute to the personality and character that complements his high-90s fastball.
Since his success in Portland, Rice earned an invitation to pitch in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. In addition, he was one of the elite prospects summoned to Boston in January for the Rookie Development Program. It was this opportunity that offered Rice his first ever trip to Fenway Park, and as you will hear, it was the ultimate highlight of his winter.
In between spring training workouts, Rice sat down to chat with me about his electric mound presence, which coaches have helped to change his career, and his underrated dancing ability (For more details, check out the previous post: http://salemsox.mlblogs.com/archives/2011/03/fort-myers-flavor-a-night-of-dance.html ).
Click here to listen to my six minute conversation with J-Rice:
Here we are, just two weeks and one day away from Opening Night at LewisGale Field. That’s only about 360 hours. Just 21,600 minutes. Or 1.3 million seconds. Umm, on second thought, just think about how we are 15 days away from the Salem Red Sox and the Frederick Keys, coming up on April 8 in the Roanoke Valley.
Any more creative time measurement suggestions, or any other clever musing, can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to you soon,
I must admit, I’ve never watched ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
But, I’m very disappointed to have missed its distance cousin “Dancing with the New Stars,” a Fort Myers tradition that pits Red Sox prospects against one another in a dramatic dance-off during spring training. On Saturday night, Ryan Kalish proved he is not a one-year wonder, successfully defending his 2010 dancing championship against aspiring contenders Ryan Lavarnway, Luis Exposito, and Jason Rice.
“It’s a fundraiser for the Red Sox Foundation,” Lavarnway explained. “It was all in good fun. Some team bonding all in the atmosphere of a fundraiser for a good cause.”
The judges were David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald, Lars Anderson, and Michael Bowden. (I’ve also never watched American Idol before, but the producers could certainly suck me in if Youk, Pedroia, or Papi became regular judges.)
After leading the Red Sox minor league farm system with 102 RBI last season, Lavarnway earned an invitation to major league camp this spring. Little did he know that in addition to catching bullpens for Beckett and Lackey, he would need to find time to search for an appropriate dancing wardrobe.
“I was told that the outfits we should wear–the more flamboyant and ridiculous, the more croud-pleasing they would be,” he said. “So I made a trip to Goodwill and actually spent 20 dollars at Goodwill on this outfit. And I looked great!”
Thanks to the wonderful social media era in which we live, there is photographic evidence of Lavarnway’s ensemble. Heidi Watney, NESN’s peerless Red Sox reporter, tweeted a bunch of action shots from the evening, showing Lavarnway with tight trousers and a shiny red, chest-revealing top. Basically, with an attractive female dancer by his side, he looked like he was a magic carpet shy of being Aladdin.
Each competitor had a choreographed dance routine to perform, but that did not prevent some on-the-spot improvisational creativity.
“They said at the beginning I had a little solo section,” Lavarnway said. “I’m lucky I pulled a Michael Jackson song because that’s something I know how to do.
“Rice did the scripted dance that was choreographed for him, and then he broke into a “Teach Me How to Dougie” number which was very impressive.”
As for Kalish picking up the official victory, it could not have hurt for the lone dancer with big-league experience to have a bunch of his Boston teammates on the decision panel.
“I gotta be honest, I think it was a little political,” said Lavarnway, jokingly. “All the guys that were there that night said that it should have been me or Rice that won. We got robbed.”
Robbed. That’s exactly how I feel after missing this event.
With today being March 8, we are exactly one month away from Opening Day at LewisGale Field. I’m so excited, I could dance.
For steady updates leading up to the season, check out www.twitter.com/salemredsox and www.twitter.com/EvanLepler. As always, the inbox also welcomes all queries, comments, and choreography suggestions at email@example.com
Baseball’s back in 31 days!
If you find yourself strolling the concourse at LewisGale Field this season, you will undoubtedly cross paths with Todd Stephenson. Aside from masterminding tuxedo jerseys and tuxedo-jersey wearing gorillas, Stephenson serves as the Vice President and General Manager of the Salem Sox, a role he moved to in the fall of 2009, 10 and a half years after his career with the Red Sox organization began in Sarasota, Florida.
When he arrived in Salem, he told The Roanoke Times that his plan was to “see what works, see what doesn’t work, and do more of what works.” Splendidly simple, yet purposefully effective.
After wrapping up his duties as Master of Ceremonies at the Salem Red Sox Hot Stove Banquet on February 10, Todd joined me for a brief chat to recap the night and look ahead to the upcoming season. The audio link is above. Give a listen, and I bet you’ll laugh at least once or twice.
Odds are if you run into Todd on the concourse just after the seventh inning stretch, he’ll make you laugh then too.
Hard is it may be to believe as I sit in North Carolina on a rainy, chilly Thursday, the 2011 season begins six weeks from tomorrow. If you’re feeling limber, feel free to begin your anti-rain dance ritual now in the hope of 75-degree sunshine on April 8.
With spring training well underway, I hope to bring some of the Fort Myers flavor to this space in the next few weeks. I’ve got some players in mind that I’ll be talking to in the next few weeks to try to capture some of the spring training lifestyle. If there’s anyone in particular you would like to hear from, please send all e-mail requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you at Salem Memorial Ballpark in 43 days,
When the Red Sox arrived in Salem in 2009, Boston dispatched Eppy. In 2010, with Eppy promoted to Minor League Catching Coordinator, our new manager was Bolesy. In the upcoming season, Salem will be steered by Crabby, the latest in the line of talented baseball staffers whose names conveniently form casual two-syllable monikers.
Just like Chad Epperson and Kevin Boles before him, Bruce Crabbe is thrilled for the opportunity to enter the Carolina League. His six-letter last name is simply pronounced “Crab,” just like the tasty shellfish. But around the batting cage, his misleading nickname–I’ve never seen Crabby crabby–is what you are most likely to hear.
Originally from Virginia, Crabbe begins his seventh year as a Red Sox minor league instructor, a tenure that has included roles as hitting coach, infield coordinator, and manager of the Lowell Spinners in 2006 and 2010.
Last week, Crabbe journeyed from his Orlando home to the Roanoke Valley for the Salem Red Sox Hot Stove Banquet, a great event that–along with Pitchers and Catchers reporting on Monday–kicked off the countdown to April 8, when the Carolina League season officially begins.
Before enjoying a delicious dinner and speaking to many dedicated fans, Crabbe indulged my interview request and shared some stories about his time in the Red Sox organization, what he aspires to do this season, and how he’ll spend the next month and a half leading up to April 8.
You can listen to my chat with “Crabby” right here: http://mlblogssalemsox.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/bruce20crabbe20pic1.jpgBruce%20Crabbe%20-%20HSB%202-10-11.mp3
That interview was recorded last Thursday night, when we were 57 days away from Opening Day. A week later, we are just 50 sunsets away from beginning the baseball marathon at Lewis-Gale Field.
Please feel free to shoot an e-mail my way with any comments, questions, musings, or philosophical theories leading up to the season. You can reach me at email@example.com
All the best from your trusty radio voice,
Can you find yourself?
(This picture is a poor quality blackberry shot, but that gallery is full of high class photography.)
With just eight weeks between now and the start of the 2011 season, expect this blog to begin booming with content over the next 56 days, leading up to Opening Day at Lewis-Gale Field on April 8!
Last night at the Salem Civic Center, a couple relay-throws away from the ballpark, fans gathered to eat, chat, donate, and win. Live and silent auctions raised money for a wonderful cause (The West End Center). And everyone in attendance got the opportunity to see and hear from the man who hit more homers than any other American Leaguer in the 1980s.
Dwight Evans, who spent the 1971 season with the Winston-Salem Red Sox in the Carolina League, spoke eloquently about his prolific career and many of the experiences that have shaped his 43 years in baseball. Today, Evans serves as a Player Development Consultant, helping to mentor the next generation of up-and-comers.
Before Evans stepped in front of everyone at the Civic Center, he generously obliged my request for a brief chat. Here’s a link to the interview: http://mlblogssalemsox.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/dwight20evans.jpgDwight%20Evans%20-%20HSB%202-10-11.mp3
At the end of the night, Evans could not have been kinder, hanging around to sign autographs and share stories with appreciative fans.
The Changing Seasons
The chill of fall has finally entered the air in my offseason home of Winston-Salem, NC. It has been almost 40 days since the Salem Red Sox last played a baseball game, and midway through October, America’s Pastime remains in only four cities. The college football season is already halfway done, churning toward a chaotic conclusion that hopefully will inch us one step closer to a playoff. And in just 11 days, my beloved Boston Celtics begin their quest for an 18th NBA title. The Celts will open their journey against the new uber-team from Miami, in perhaps the most-anticipated NBA opener ever.
While it has been true throughout my entire life, it is a fact that has been emphasized since I entered the work-force (a term I use loosely, as I mostly watch and talk about games unfolding before my eyes). My life revolves around the seasons. Not spring, summer, fall, and winter, but baseball, football, basketball, and sometimes hockey. Add in Wimbledon, the Masters, and a pair of US Opens. World Cups and Olympiads also offer context to the individual years, mostly in the way of remembering a season that included an extra event from another which stood alone.
I doubt I am the only sports fan whose memory functions around athletic landmarks. For example, June 12, I watched Team USA and England kiss their respective sisters in a 1-1 draw, then witnessed Daniel Nava’s first ever big-league swing while inside the Harry Grove Stadium clubhouse. Later that night, Brock Huntzinger spun a gem in a dominant Salem Sox victory, cementing his status as a Carolina League All-Star. Five days later, the Celts dropped game seven to the Lakers. Looking back, my disappointment has clouded my appreciation for Peter Hissey, who gapped an RBI double in the last of the eighth, breaking a tie game to pave the road to a quick victory. The swiftness of the result–gratitude is also owed to Huntzinger, for dispatching the Blue Rocks speedily in most frames–enabled me to get to a television by the midway point of the first quarter.
The seasons are littered with memorable moments that live together. If you are lucky, you have a few unforgettable multi-layered experiences, of which you likely have instant recall. For me, September 1, 2007 was one of those days. On my first day at a new job as the studio host for a small-conference football team, I became a part of history when Appalachian State knocked off Michigan in the Big House. To this day, I wonder if I should have even bothered recapping scores from other games in my postgame update. At that point, who really cared about anything else than the shocking result from Ann Arbor? When the broadcast wrapped up, I drove past celebratory honking horns in Boone, NC back to Winston-Salem, where I arrived in the nick of time to catch the final six outs of Clay Buchholz’ second major league start. The enigmatic righty from Texas who had risen through the Sox system as a homegrown prospect tossed a no-hitter at Fenway. As a broadcaster, I still vividly remember the calls of the day: David Jackson’s “The Mountaineers of Appalachian State have beaten the Michigan Wolverines!!!” and Don Orsillo’s “A no-hitter for Clay Buchholz!!!”
These two moments will always be linked, just like how I will always link Hissey to the NBA finals and watching the World Cup with my family to Nava’s grand slam. Every sport has its season, but the overlapping moments enliven the landscape, helping to create the broad frame of reference for beloved memories.
Is it healthy to care so much? Probably not. But ever since I came across this quote from noted essayist Roger Angell, it has been a bit easier to explain. Angell wrote,
“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look — I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete — the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball — seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”
Enjoy Rangers-Yankees. Enjoy Giants-Phillies. Have fun with college football on Saturday and NFL ball on Sunday. And take solace in the fact that the seasons are cyclical; as soon as one ends, another countdown begins.
Would you believe we’re only 175 days away from Opening Day 2011? Today is Friday, October 15, and the season begins on Friday, April 8. Only 25 weeks separate us from baseball at Lewis-Gale Field.
Until then, cherish the changing seasons, and stay in touch!
Your broadcaster and friend,
P.S. Please drop an offseason e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s talk, Sox fans!
We’re about 48 hours removed from one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in sports. I hope you agree that Daniel Nava’s grand slam is up there in the pantheon of coolest sports moments, even if you didn’t realize it at the time. We’re talking about a kid who was, and still is, relatively, a shrimp. He has joked that he was a high school student that couldn’t go with friends to an amusement park because he was not tall enough to experience most rides. He batted ninth on his high school team. In his first two years at Santa Clara, he was still too small and was reduced to ‘managing’ the baseball team, a tireless job that included doing the nightly laundry for the rest of the players.
And the story goes on. Forced to attend junior college because his family could no longer afford tuition for Santa Clara, Nava finally cherished a true baseball playing opportunity. He hasn’t let one slip by since.
He led his team with a .400 average at San Mateo Junior College and received a scholarship to Santa Clara, where he led the league in hitting as senior. Someone else did the laundry.
He went undrafted, which means 30 teams passed on him at least 50 times each. Bet they feel silly now. Although he almost could not even get a job in independent ball; after he was cut by the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, they called him back a week later and said he could come back. One of the other outfielder’s had gotten married and a spot was open. Love is bliss.
He led that independent league in hitting and was named MVP as his team won the pennant. What does he do with that Golden Baseball League Championship ring? Nothing, he never got one.
But the Red Sox did purchase his rights. Clearly they saw potential in the young man. Actually, they had never seen him play, but they saw his name on Baseball America’s list of top Indy ball prospects and signed him for a buck. Literally, one dollar.
As Nava made his climb up the Red Sox minor league ladder, most of this improbable tale was reported in local stories and regurgitated throughout solo radio broadcasts, mostly heard by just friends, families, and a few loyal diehards. With one swing on Saturday, Nava completed the remarkable journey, not just into the big leagues, but into baseball history.
After watching USA Soccer’s 1-1 win (according to the tabloids) over England, I arrived at Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium on Saturday afternoon and quickly fired up my computer, hoping to catch Nava’s first at-bat. For whatever reason, my internet explorer decided to fritz, so when I restarted the mlb.com gametracker, I had just missed his at-bat live. Almost simultaneously, the gametracker loaded and my cell phone started buzzing like a vuvuzela. Nava was 1-1 with four RBI.
As Dave O’Brien exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
“Can you believe it?” asked Joe Castiglione.
With no tv in the Frederick press box, I hurried to the visitor’s clubhouse, hoping to see a replay and share the moment. Perhaps a dozen guys were already in there watching, all with glazed expressions of excitement. Quickly, the FOX production team allowed us to relive the impact. First pitch, Boom!
Over the next 10-15 minutes, guys who missed it live trickled back into the clubhouse, some aware of what had happened, others who were not. Over and over again, I saw looks of disbelief, amazement, and happiness. I can’t say for sure if other guys had tears of joy welling up in their ducts, but I know I did. At the very least, everyone was giddy about what we had just seen.
Of course, as always happens in a baseball clubhouse, the jokes began. One player said that he was going to stay up all night voting for Nava to make the All-Star team. Another suggested that Nava was now the frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year.
Underlying everything was the simple fact that EVERYONE liked this guy, and the energy the moment created was unlike anything I’ve seen in a clubhouse setting. Guys were truly overjoyed at Nava’s success.
Perhaps because of the goofy grins of satisfaction, Salem rocked Frederick on Saturday night 8-1. Right as the game was starting, Nava connected on another extra-base hit, a double, and finished the game 2-4. He went 2-4 again at Fenway Park on Sunday, cracking another double and driving in another run. Two games: 4-8 (.500), 2 doubles, 1 homer, 5 RBI. In the big leagues. For the Boston Red Sox.
Of course, there’s the Salem connection. Nava played 29 games for the Salem Sox in 2009, hitting .339 with one homer (a game-tying two-run blast with two outs in the ninth in Lynchburg–Salem won the game in 15 innings). His 29 games played spanned nearly two months in June through August, part of which was spent on the DL with a muscle strain. Even after he got completely healthy, it was sometimes tough for him to break into the lineup, for he lacked ‘prospect’ status and other guys needed their ABs. But when he played, he produced. And when he was promoted to double-A, he raked in Portland as well.
At 27 years old, it is imperfect to call him a kid. But regardless of age, height, background, or previous standing, Nava has ascended to the Show with a youthful exuberance that could keep him there for a good while. Hitting .300 or better would not hurt either.
He’s leading off for Terry Francona’s club tonight. At the top of the lineup card, he’s taller than he’s ever been.
Meanwhile, here in the Roanoke Valley, the Salem Sox open up their penultimate series of the first half. The Red Sox have won six straight games over the Wilmington Blue Rocks dating back to April, and trailing by three and a half games with six to play, the Sox have little margin for error.
Hope you can join us on the radio or the web for the live broadcast at 7:03 for the 7:05 first pitch.
It’d be great to hear from you! You can e-mail me at email@example.com
Until next time, enjoy the baseball (and Go Celtics!),
Frederick, MD (June 10, 2010) – Three positions players and two pitchers will represent the Salem Red Sox at the 2010 California-Carolina League All-Star Game, it was announced today. League RBI leader Ryan Lavarnway was chosen as the starting catcher, while Oscar Tejeda and Will Middlebrooks will start at second and third base, respectively. On the mound, the Red Sox send Brock Huntzinger and Alex Wilson, both righthanded starters who have shined in their first months in the Carolina League. Only the Winston-Salem Dash have more selections than Salem’s five, as seven Dash were named to the roster of 23 players.
Lavarnway has been a steady presence in the middle of the Salem lineup throughout the season, leading the club in homers and RBI. Lavarnway’s 13 round-trippers are second-most in the league, and he leads the circuit with 48 RBI. Lavarnway also is tops in the Carolina League in runs scored with 45.
Tejeda deservingly gets the nod at second base after a dynamite first 60 games of 2010. The 20-year old Dominican-native leads the team 21 multi-hit games, and his .324 average is tied for fifth-best in the league. Tejeda has also hit a career-high eight homers, one more than his total of seven from the previous two seasons combined.
Middlebrooks earns the starting honor at third base for his excellent play both at the plate and at the hot corner. The Lone Star State-native has hit .299 with four homers, 18 doubles, and 23 RBI. Defensively, his skills are among the best in the league, utilizing lightning quick reactions along with his rocket right arm.
Huntzinger and Wilson also are heading to Myrtle Beach as the representatives of the Salem pitching staff. Huntzinger was named pitcher of the month in May when he went 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA. Overall, the Pendleton, Indiana-native has gone 5-3 with a 3.14 ERA. Meanwhile, Wilson made the jump to the Carolina League after spending 2009 in the New York-Penn League with the Lowell Spinners, and after a slow start, has become one of the top starters in the league. Wilson is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA and owns a 2.89 ERA since May 1.
The quintet of Salem All-Stars will join the rest of their fellow Carolina League standouts at the 2010 California-Carolina League All-Star game on Tuesday, June 22 at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, SC. Last year, Red Sox pitcher Ryne Miller was named MVP of the midsummer classic in Lake Elsinore, CA after striking out five Cal Leaguers in two innings pitched.
The Salem Red Sox are 35-25 through 60 games and currently trail first-place Winston-Salem by three games in the Southern Division with 10 games remaining before the break. The Sox open a four-game series in Frederick tonight at 7:00 PM.
Let’s talk, Sox fans.
A lot has happened since Jack’s eye closed for the final time. Unfortunately, the Salem Sox have hit a bit of a late-Spring slide (Just 11-17 in their last 28 games after a 21-7 start), but come-from-behind wins the past two nights have brought some of the great vibes back to the park. It’s interesting how a baseball season is a turbulent quest full of peaks and valleys, yet there certainly is some benefit for experiencing tribulations over the course of the grueling summer.
Plus, this is how the Red Sox want it. As Theo Epstein told the Boston Globe on Friday, “We want all our prospects, at some point or another, to struggle, make the adjustments, and learn to overcome it.”
Many local fans may not realize that a two-time World Series Champion is here at Lewis-Gale Field every single night. Usually, coaches at this level are up-and-comers or recently retired players trying their hand at molding players for the first time. There are many different styles and approaches, and coaches, just like players, are adjustment-makers, tinkering away at their craft on the way up the ladder.
Dick Such has already been to the top. He won two World Series rings as Pitching Coach for the Minnesota Twins. His pals in the baseball world are numerous and connected. And yet, here he is, at 65 years old, in his second year in Salem, Virginia, gradually dispensing his decades of baseball experiences to a bunch of 20-somethings, most of whom probably have no idea that “Suchie” ever played in the big leagues himself. Or who he played for…
Selected in the 8th round of the 1966 Amateur Draft out of Elon University, the 22-year old 6’4″ righty ascended to the major leagues in 1970 with the Washington Senators, managed by some guy named Ted Williams.
“He didn’t like pitchers, and he didn’t like changeups,” remembered Such. “But he liked me because I could hit. I hit a grand slam in spring training that year.”
Such’s hitting acumen was nothing compared to the “Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” yet his relative skill at the plate was a natural ice-breaker with Williams, who managed the Senators/Rangers for four seasons, from 1969-72.
Like Williams, Such’s baseball career was impacted by his military service as a member of the army reserve. One of Such’s best starts of his lone season in the majors, a 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium in which he threw seven innings, came just one day before jaunting off to Fort Stewart, GA for a military summer camp, where he worked in a tank.
“It was very dangerous,” Such said somberly. “I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt there.”
Such recalls Williams as a gruff skipper who did not take losing too well. He was stormy after some games and, predictably, preferred spending time on extra batting practice as opposed to fielding or pitching work.
Years later, Such ran into Williams at a New York hotel, and Such was “shocked” that Williams remembered him. Perhaps it was because Such had more hits than wins in the big leagues. Such went 1-5 with a 7.56 ERA in 21 games (five starts) in 1970, yet was 3-13 (.231) offensively, with a double and an RBI.
That was 40 years ago. Since then, Such has remained a baseball lifer, spending his summers by the diamond and working with young arms in the bullpen. It keeps him young as well, he says, and he has no timetable to call it quits.
He seems to be very happy where he is at, which is good news for Salem and all the pitchers who pass through the Carolina League, who get to hone their curveballs under the tutelage of a man whose experiences and jewelry collection, consisting of two coveted rings, prove that he’s more than just a guy who knew Teddy Ballgame.
But that, in itself, is still pretty cool.
Salem looks to make it three of four this weekend and nine of ten in the half against Myrtle Beach at 4:05 today here at Lewis-Gale Field. You can hear all the action at www.salemsox.com and on our Flagship Station in the Roanoke Valley, NewsTalk 960 WFIR.
It’d be great to hear from you! You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, enjoy the baseball (and Go Celtics!),