Here's My Chance, I'm Gonna Take It!

Once upon a time the Boston Red Sox held public tryouts for anyone between the ages of 18-25. In 1997 I decided to attend a tryout with one of my friends. That age range might not be totally correct, because I was 16 when I went and saw at least one guy who had to be 45 years old. Anyway, I woke my sister up at 7am on a Saturday to drive us down to Bryant College in Rhode Island for my shot at the big leagues. She signed the parental waiver for both of us.

I hadn't played baseball in a team setting since little league, so my gear consisted of hand-me-down soccer cleats from my cousin and blue warm up pants. The warm up pants had a rip in the crotch, so I wore red mesh shorts over them. That's right. I was wearing blue warm up pants with red mesh shorts over them. Somewhere in my parents house there are photos. 

My friend was(is) talented. He's a lefty and played the outfield well. He hit well whenever our friends played softball, so he actually held his own at the tryouts. I, on the other hand, suck as a general rule of thumb, and did not perform well. My friend and I were paired up to run the 100 yard dash. There exists a photo of this dash, and the blurs that represent us from a distance show my friend with a huge lead. 

You know what, though? It was so awesome. Shagging flies(or dropping them, and chasing them), taking swings in the batting cage, running around the field...it was amazing. I don't know if Major League Baseball still has these tryouts, but I hope they exist in some way. A running joke is that I'm waiting on the Red Sox to call me up and sign me to a deal. Almost 20 years later.

Whether I was hitting or fielding, there were uniformed Red Sox coaches hanging around. One guy's nickname was Buzz. Buzz was behind the batting cage when I took my swings against a lefty and missed horribly at just about every pitch. He spared me from whatever thoughts of disgust he likely had about my form. 

I didn't go with any real sense of having a legitimate chance at showcasing any skills. I went so I could blog about it 20 years later. You know what I mean? It was a great time. 

A few years ago Dispatch announced a busking show in Washington Square Park. I took a long lunch break to go watch these guys play. For the same reason. Why not? People paid $100 or more to see Dispatch play at Madison Square Garden. I just had to show up to hear a few songs in the park!

Whenever I have an opportunity to do something and I'm not sure because I'm tired or really should do laundry or some other reason, I sometimes think about my Red Sox tryout and the Dispatch busking show. It just took saying yes to have a ton of fun. 

Happy Opening Day!

Baseball has returned! Specifically, Boston Red Sox baseball has returned!

The last time we saw them, they were playing out the string of another disappointing season. Coincidentally the last time I was blogging (somewhat) regularly, they weren't totally awful. Then they were, and I stopped caring because they stopped caring. But it's a new day. That's what I love about baseball. Every April offers a new hope. Hope springs eternal.

For some sports fans, baseball is the natural progression of seasonal changes. The NCAA tournament coincides with baseball's spring training. Hockey and basketball playoffs coincide with early season baseball. Baseball takes hold for the summer before giving way to football and the winter before we start it up again with hockey and basketball as football winds its season down. Add MLS, UFC, NASCAR, tennis, golf, and occasionally some variation of the Olympics or World Cup games every few years and I think that covers the American sports arena. 

For me, though, sports viewing begins and ends with baseball. When the baseball season ends, I turn to Netflix and Hulu to catch up on stuff I missed over the previous six months. I pay attention to other things. I don't move on to the New England Patriots or the Boston Bruins, or the Celtics. I'm so thoroughly engrossed in baseball that when it ends, I need a breather. I'm impressed with people who passionately jump from season to season, sport to sport. 

I think I like baseball because it's played so often, it's OK if I don 't catch every inning of every game, but I'll also watch a meaningless 5 hour game between the Red Sox and Orioles on a Wednesday. Whereas football is a weekly event, it's OK if I miss a Red Sox game because they're usually playing the next day. There are obvious exceptions when they're playing rivals, or there's a huge matchup. In general though, baseball is the ultimate game to follow. I'm biased, but that's OK. 

Some say the first game can be an indicator of a season. I prefer this as truth when the Red Sox either blow out the opposing team or have a dramatic walk off. I'll deny this as fiction when a starter gets knocked out early and everybody has a terrible first game. I'm fine with contradicting myself depending on the outcome year to year.

I don't have any predictions for the Red Sox this season. Part of me says they'll win the World Series, part of me says they'll end up in third place. I suspect it'll be somewhere between the two, and if they win the whole thing, it'll be a epic journey. 

Benefits of Taking A Break

I don't think I'm the only one in the universe who has decided, at one time or another, to take a break from social media. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of the above and whatever other social media I didn't include. 

I first stepped away during Lent two years ago, and then stepped away last January for about 3 months. The first time it was just Facebook, and it made me appreciate Instagram in a whole different way. With Instagram, there's less discussion. People post, people Like and/or Comment, and that's about it. Unless you're a Kardashian, there aren't many real discussions. It's just, hey, here I am, someplace awesome, and I'm sharing it with you. I would rank Instagram as my favorite social media app.

The second time I stepped away, it was a full stop. No Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, anything. I didn't have any profound discovery, except that I realized I didn't miss a whole lot from not constantly checking in on the world. I disconnected so fully, I signed up for email blasts from breweries I followed, and things like Humans of New York and photographers that I enjoy the work of. I added birthday reminders to my Google calendar, and news apps to satiate the need for random articles. 

The second social media break proved to be hugely helpful in finding new outlets for interesting things. For instance, I relied heavily on Flipboard, an app that aggregates news articles based on your interests. It's great for commutes or waiting in a doctor's office. Fairly short articles about things I like. It's the first thing I check in the morning. More recently, I discovered This.cm, which isn't a typo. This.com will lead you to a non-descript website that offers you to take a survey. This.cm is a aggregator of articles that have been shared by members. In September I signed up for their Top 5, which is  daily email featuring 5 long reads that might be featured in the NYT, WSJ, or something similar. This week featured an article by a New Republic reporter in the middle of a Trump rally. Another article, this one from Texas Monthly, recounts a woman who was injured in a mass shooting in 1966. Lastly, there was a link to a long Sports Illustrated article about Sidd Finch, an older article but updated recently. I haven't read any of these fully yet, but over the course of a few days I will. I highly recommend signing up for This.cm. 

I also signed up for SBNation's MLB daily email. It is awesome! Imagine all of the great stories surrounding baseball, linked and emailed every morning. It's a game changer. Aside from FlipBoard, this is the first thing I check in the morning.

Like my last post, I don't have any point to today's entry. That's probably going to be the norm. As I work my way into writing more often, maybe cohesive ideas will congeal. Until then, here's "Axel F" from Beverly Hills Cop. I hope you get up and dance.

Getting Back Into It

For the better part of four years I wrote daily, mostly about the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball. I wrote along with a group of writers that tried in vain to create an online presence for one of the oldest baseball magazines in the country. I'm proud of what I wrote, and how much it contributed to my style and growth as a writer. I like to think that those four years were the groundwork for whatever future writing I might do. I also like to believe we were successful in cultivating a online community, even if there was an end.

And that's sort of where I'm at now. I haven't written daily since roughly October 2012. I've started blog posts and deleted them. I've had grand ideas and then pushed them aside. I've thought about re-starting my original concept of celebrating a baseball player's birthday on any given day, and that too hasn't materialized. I've recently considered that perhaps I'm just finished with writing about baseball. I love watching it, and reading other people's views. Last year I tried a different approach to writing about baseball, but gave up around the same time the Red Sox did.

Part of the problem is I'm not interested in being provocative, or offering blog posts that opine on everything that's going on in the world. Though, part of me does want to do that. Part of me wants to write a scathing post about how awful Donald Trump is, or how the Sanders / Clinton battle will play out.  I'd probably just link to other people's article. I'd probably regurgitate someone else's viewpoint.  I'd probably share something that has already been shared on Facebook or Twitter and reposted, blogged about, and linked a thousand times over. Social media has changed the way I write, because chances are someone has already said what I want to say, and have already shared it way better than I could possibly share something.

This has become a stream of consciousness*, because I don't have a point, ultimately. Though, I just googled the definition of stream of consciousness and haven't figured out if I used that phrase correctly. I'm going to hope I did. 

Since I don't have an ultimate point, let me share a couple of things.

Disturbed doesn't fit in my musical flavor palette most days, but I came across their version of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence", and I think it is a fantastic cover. I suggest turning this up and rocking out.

I'm pretty sure I've linked to Josh Wilker's Cardboard Gods website. He's written a few great books, and writes on his website regularly. He writes to cards he has collected throughout life, and every post is worth reading. I recently read his Ray Fosse post, and it reminded me what I really enjoy about his writing. Ray Fosse was infamously injured by Pete Rose during an All-Star game, and Josh wrote about it a bit.

My favorite line: "This is the danger all of us face, I guess: bitterness. We fall into a pattern of perpetually forgetting the sun is always shining, the sky is always boundless."

* - I actually didn't spell it correctly when I first typed it. I thought it was Stream of Conscious, no -ness.  I hope you don't think less of me.

What's Happening To The Red Sox?

On August 18th, the Red Sox announced Dave Dombrowski as the president of baseball operations. The Saturday prior to that, Red Sox owner John Henry told Ben Cherington that the team was talking to Dombrowski. 

Although announced today by NESN that play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo would be replaced next season by Dave O'Brien, Orsillo was first told about 10 days ago. 10 days ago is right about the same time Dombrowski was agreeing to join the Red Sox.

Obviously Dombrowski isn't involved in this, but it's really interesting that both of these things were decided within about 24 hours of each other. 

So here's a conspiracy theory; John Henry and co. are selling the team. By bringing in Dombrowski, a known commodity to do well with trades, he can take a fully stock minor league system and improve the team without totally sacrificing the talent they've acquired and home grown in the minors. Ideally a strong showing in 2016 showcases the franchise and Henry and co. pass the team over to another owner. Dombrowski sticks around as long as ownership remains, but moves on when the sale is complete.

How does Orsillo play into this? By removing a well liked fan favorite like Orsillo, it allows a future owner to handpick their own talent, without creating any negative light right away. 

It's a stretch, but is it really? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Flat Tires Are The Worst

Since 2010 I have biked more than two thousand miles. Most of these miles have been in New York City and Brooklyn in particular. About 400 have been mainly in the borough of Queens. 

Until I moved to Queens and upgraded my tires to hybrid sport tires, I had maybe four flats while riding the streets of New York. Since the upgrade, it seems as though I puncture a tire within fifty miles. 

I'm not sure if this is tied to the streets and the debris that I'm riding over, or if it's a reflection of the tires I'm riding with. I suspect it has more to do with the former. In Brooklyn, 90% of my riding was on protected lanes, and in some cases dedicated bike paths on the sidewalk. Maybe half of my routes in Queens are in bike lanes, and there are only a few stretches of completely protected bike lanes.

I also upgraded my tracking, opting for Strava instead of Map My Ride. though Map My Ride shows my rides from 2010 through part of 2014. 2012 was an epic year. I biked almost 600 miles that year. Just looking at that number makes me consider whether I've really tried hard enough to get on the bike recently.

My building has a gym, but I never think to jump on a stationary bike when I have a flat tire. It's not because I'm lazy. It has more to do with the fact that riding a bike in the streets offers a lot more. Physically, I think it's more demanding. Mentally though, I don't think a stationary bike comes close. There's something almost meditative about taking out the bike and going on a 15-20 mile ride. Hopefully that makes sense to more than just me.

I used to take a lot of photos while riding, but I've trimmed my photos down to one or two per ride. It's about the ride, isn't it, not really whether you can share every moment of it? 

I didn't have a nice way to wrap this post up, so here are some photos from recent rides.


Dog Does Backflip, Hilarity Ensues!

I could google search a dog doing a back flip, but I'll leave that to you.

Humans of New York has been in Pakistan for the past week or so, highlighting the lives of many people in the region. The last few days have focused on the slave labor that exists within the brick industry. There was a crowdfunding, and 40,000 people helped raise $1,000,000 in 12 hours. 

That's a pretty amazing thing to see happen, isn't it? 40,000 people put an average of $25 towards a cause to free a family from an insanely unfair bondage related to a kiln in Pakistan. 

....

Wherever your political affiliations are positioned, you can't help but notice Vermont senator Bernie Sanders's summer ride as the hopeful for the Democratic nomination for the next President of the United States. Apparently Bernie Sanders has little chance. Apparently he's too left, too much of a socialist, and way too inexperienced with a large country, foreign relations, and pretty much everything outside of Vermont. I think that covers it.

He has also managed to raise $15,000,000 from about 250,000 people, with 99% of donations under $250. The article I linked is old, so there might be new numbers. 

What's interesting about this, is Bernie Sanders isn't following the same route as a lot of other presidential hopefuls. He's tapping into the everyday person. $15 million dollars. That's impressive. In an era where it's a depressing reality that a person need millions upon millions of dollars to run for the highest office in the land, it's a refreshing reality that perhaps a candidate doesn't need to be beholden to whatever interest group gives money. 

Donald Trump(he could be a separate post later) even spoke about the joke that fundraising has become during the first GOP debate. He essentially said he gives money, and whoever he gives money to shows up when they're asked. There's a photo of Hillary Clinton at Trump's wedding that sort of hammers this home. 

At the end of the day, or in this case the election, neither Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump will likely be in the conversation. However, imagine if they were? It seems the summer is when only the marginal candidates are making news...and usually as the butt of a joke. Maybe this time is different? Trump caters to people sick and tired of the boring politician. Sanders caters to people who want to hear original ideas and someone who isn't bound by who donates the most. Combine the hilarious crazy attitude of Trump with the sensible values of Sanders? What would happen? It would only help the race, as far as I can see.

....

My point of both stories, is that perhaps the people that control most of the money in the world aren't all that powerful. If lots of people with similar views get together, it seems possible to make a difference. In Sanders's case it might be a stretch, but isn't it worth it, if only to change the conversation a bit? 

....


FAT FREE TWINKIES! REALLY!

No, not really! But I like the click bait title, so there you go.

Air quality is so bad in Beijing that researchers are estimating that every person in the area is inhaling the equivalent of 1.5 cigarettes every hour. That is serious toxic fumes! It's amazing that this isn't bigger news.

The Taxi King of Queens is crumbling, thanks to Uber. I listened to NPR's Planet Money's recent episode that interviewed Gene Friedman and touched on the impact of Uber on owning taxi medallions in NYC. It was an interesting discussion, and a larger one that implicates livery regulation on a whole. One the one hand, taxi companies must adhere to regulations that include providing vehicles that at ADA compliant. Uber has no such requirements. In fact, Uber has so such vehicles. Uber actually doesn't pick up people with wheelchairs. You can google Uber and ADA Compliance and find numerous articles referencing law suits. It's interesting, Uber skirts the ADA requirement by stating that they're a technology company, not a transportation company. There's an industry waiting to happen for a fleet of ADA compliant van drivers.

Back to my initial point on the Taxi King and Uber. Taxi companies and drivers alike are complaining that Uber is not regulated and pretty much free to do as they please. Uber and its drivers are arguing that they're filling a void for people who can't easily grab a cab in the city. They're both right. The thing that I find funny is you don't hear about the taxi companies working on their own mobile app to compete with Uber. Maybe it's because Uber added an Uber Taxi option, which allows you to request a taxi for a $2 surcharge. 

Imagine if the taxi companies hired away developers from Uber, or just hired capable developers on their own, and then we had competing mobile apps? Prices would probably drop, and people would get where they need to be. Instead, we have Uber skirting ADA laws, taxi owners complaining, and a stalemate where people would benefit if both sides figured out the best way to duke it out.

I saw Kill The Alarm last night. First time in a few years, but they were great. It took me back to college, when I saw the lead singer perform in tiny places like a frat house living room and a bar with 4 patrons. Good times.

Pat Venditte Called Up

If you love baseball, and baseball makes you happy, then the story of Pat Venditte is right up your alley. 

Pat Venditte is the first Switch Pitcher in the big leagues since 1894. The Oakland A's called Venditte up today after he posted a 1.36 ERA over 33 innings at the AAA level. Because of Venditte's unique pitching style, MLB needed to add a rule specific to switch pitching; Venditte must announce his intended throwing arm, and he must not switch arms until an at bat has ended. 

Check out the hilarious back and forth from Venditte's low minor league days when this was an unresolved issue. Start it around the one minute mark.:


Game 52 vs. Minnesota Twins: 10 Gifs To Give

The Red Sox haven't played since Sunday's impressive display of not giving any sh*ts against the Texas Rangers. Their overall play over the season has been pretty bad, but between Pablo Sandoval's oley bullshit on Sunday and John Farrell's decision to walk Prince Fielder against Koji Uehara(no hits in 8 at bats) to get to Josh Hamilton(4 hits in 13 at bats), there is only one reaction to the Red Sox up to this point of the season.

Since it seems the Red Sox aren't interested in immediately turning this ship around, here are 9 other gifs to give. 

Despite every hope, dream, and prayer by Red Sox fans everywhere...it seems 2015 is quickly going the way of the 2014 season. It seems it might be even be worse than the Bobby Valentine scorched earth disaster.

Not to turn this into a The Office Gif Re-Mix, I'll throw out the other one that speaks to me. It speaks to everyone who has regularly spent 3 hours of their day watching the Red Sox throw up another stinker.

Remember, on April 17,when the Red Sox were 7-3? Oh, good times. The Red Sox GM looked so smart with a bunch of middle rotation starters. Who needed an ace?

Hanley Ramirez had a great homecoming! He hit 10 home runs in his first 21 games, and looked poised to fill that offensive void. 

Then he hit a wall, quite literally. In 26 games since, he has hit 2 home runs and his average is in the .230's over that time.

Remember the days of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts kicking everyone's ass? The highlight reels. The epic go ahead runs, heads up baserunning, all around awesome style of play?

Between Xander, Betts, and Brock Holt, it seems Red Sox fans have more than just one source of hope.

So, maybe it's not the end of the world. Maybe there is hope. Maybe the Red Sox can find a way to stop sucking.

Maybe the Brock Star can join forces with the other young players.

Maybe Eduardo Rodriguez can put Clay Buchholz and the entire pitching staff on his shoulders!

Maybe 2015 will end in another champagne supernova!

More likely is the Red Sox will continue their slide, John Farrell will be fired, and David Ortiz will be the only player to have an admirable resurgence the rest of the way. However, this is BaseballHappy.com, not BaseballSadAngryPissedOff.com. So, here we are.

 

Game 51 vs. Texas Rangers:Ila Borders

Ila Borders never played for the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers. She never played with a team linked to Major League Baseball. She did, however, play parts of four seasons with independent league baseball teams. On this day in 1997, Ila Borders made her professional debut with the St. Paul Saints, becoming one of the first woman to play in integrated men's baseball. Toni Stone and several other women played in the negro leagues. 

Though Borders never played on a major league team, she did play with several former major leaguers. Esteban Beltre is the only former teammate to have played with the Red Sox, Rangers, and Saints while Ila Borders was a teammate. Perhaps her most famous teammate was JD Drew, who at the time was holding out for a larger signing bonus with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ila Borders struggled through much of her brief career to find consistency to her pitching style. It wasn't until her third season that she found some semblance of success. Using an approach where she consistently threw three innings per start, she had a 1.67 ERA over 15 games. Her success didn't translate into looks from big league clubs, and she decided to retire during the 2000 season.

Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about various Red Sox players finding ways to improve their game. Whether video hitting coach Dustin Pedroia helps out Mike Napoli and Hanley Ramirez, or David Ortiz takes a few days off to work on his swing, it seems the entire team is looking for ways to improve their game. 

You have to wonder if one of Ila Borders teammates with MLB experience chimed in with support on how her career could improve, or just ways to make things stick a bit better. Chances are it was a combination of things. Since we're allowed to think outside the box, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the pitching staff rallied around the first female in modern day baseball to find ways to keep her career going. Just like I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Red Sox are having team meetings to sort out how they can right the ship before it's too late. 

Game 50 vs. Texas Rangers: Ron Mahay

The Boston Red Sox continue their slide into obscurity, and they are now 3-7 in their last 10 games. Eduardo Rodriguez is a pleasant surprise, but right now the team needs four more of him. That, and they need an offense to match when the pitching is going right. It's like they've been thisclose to putting things together. It seems every other day the Red Sox are losing games 6-2 or winning 7-3. 

Dustin Pedroia has reportedly helped Mike Napoli and Hanley Ramirez with minor tweaks to their hitting that has resulted in immediate changes. Big Papi took a few days off to work on his swing, and returns tonight, hopeful of seeing changes. 

Ron Mahay is the poster boy of making changes that impacted his career and the success of the teams he played on. He was drafted as an outfielder, and after a brief stint in the big leagues as an outfielder, he opted to change his ways and became a pitcher. He spent an entire offseason pitching in Australia, crafting his transition to being a full time pitcher. The results were a fourteen year career with the Red Sox, Rangers, and six other teams. 

The connection here is that perhaps the Red Sox need a little more time to get things together. The AL East is still wide open. That seems to be a theme of the last ten posts or so. It's also very likely that I'm holding out hope that 2015 isn't quickly becoming an also-ran year much like 2014 was. As we've seen with the previous World Series runs, regular dominant rotation cycles is the key to a championship. Timely hitting as well. Neither seem to be happening right now. 

Perhaps the ghost of Ron Mahay success will help turn things. 

Game 49 vs. Texas Rangers: Justin Germano

Eduardo Rodriguez became youngest Red Sox pitcher to win his major league debut on the road since Billy Rohr of the 1967 Red Sox. He though 7.2 scoreless innings and struck out seven. It's hard not to consider the ramifications this could have of the rest of the season if it turns out that Rodriguez is a legit starting option.

It's hard to guess the path of a player's future. Just ask Justin Germano. If Germano gets into a game with the Seattle Mariners this season, it will be his 8th team in 10 seasons. Germano appeared in just one game for the Red Sox, and had two appearances as a Texas Ranger. He's had equally brief stops at the major league level with the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds. You really just need to check out his B-Ref page

For what it's worth, Germano was awesome in his one Red Sox appearance. In the lost season of 2012, in a meaningless game against the New York Yankees, Germano shut down the Yanks after entering the game with a deficit. The Red Sox never dug out, but it wasn't because Germano didn't pick them up. For one magical day, he was lights out in the Red Sox / Yankees rivalry.

It's impossible to say whether Eduardo Rodriguez has a big future ahead of him, or if he'll have something like today's starter, Steven Wright. Wright is looking for his second career victory in his fifth career start..while being 8 years older than Eduardo Rodriguez. 

The hope here is Wright and Rodriguez end up becoming lightning in the bottle that helps turn things around for the 2015 Red Sox. 

Game 48 vs. Texas Rangers: Gabe Kapler

First, a few things about May 28th.

On May 28th, 2013, the Red Sox were 32-21, in first place, and had Ryan Dempster pitching. Dempster lost, but pitched well enough to win by allowing 2 runs over 7 innings.

On May 28th, 2007, the Red Sox were 35-15, in first place, and had Curt Schilling pitching. It was vintage Schilling. 7 innings, 1 run, 10 strikeouts.

On May 28th, 2004, the Red Sox were 30-18, in first place, and had Pedro Martinez pitching. He wasn't vintage but he was efficient, throwing 7 innings and striking out 9, though he allowed 4 runs.

No recent Red Sox team has won a World Series with a record below .500 as of May 28th on any given season. The 1967 Impossible Dream reached the World Series, but they were only a single game below .500 on May 28th that year.

That being said, it's still too early to completely count out the 2015 Boston Red Sox.  Highly touted prospect Eduado Rodriguez takes the mound tonight. Over the course of 100 minor league starts, Rodriguez has an ERA of 3.23. He currently has a 2.98 ERA with the Pawtucket Red Sox, and has a complete game to go along with 8 starts. If he has a solid outing, it could turn things around for the Red Sox.

Eduardo Rodriguez joins a long line of players to join the Red Sox at a time when the team is looking for a spark. Around the same time in 2003, Shea Hillenbrand was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for closer Byung-Hyun Kim.

Another trade in 2003 may have helped spark the team as well. A player who has been called Dave Kapler, Gabe The Babe, and he makes women swoon.

Gabe Kapler was acquired at the end of June in 2003. At the time the team was middling through a losing month. In Kapler's first two games, he nearly hit for the cycle in his first game, and homered twice in his second game. It's not clear in the box scores if Kapler had a huge part in the turnaround for the Red Sox, but considering his tenure with the team, it's likely it had some impact. 

As the Red Sox hopes begin to become more questionable, the hope is that Eduardo Rodriguez is the answer that the team needs. Can a rookie suddenly become an ace? Doubtful, but maybe a strong performance inspires the rest of the team.

Game 47 vs. Minnesota Twins: Bullet Joe Bush

Rick Porcello is a pretty good pitcher. He has had two certified stinker starts in 2015, but due to the Red Sox playing like they're stuck in the mud, it has garnered attention. Which Rick Porcello will show up today?

Bullet Joe Bush played for the Red Sox and Washington Senators(precursor to the Minnesota Twins). He also spent time with the Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Giants. He won world championships with the A's, Red Sox, and Yankees. 

Bullet Joe Bush also had a career where good things and bad things happened. He led the league in losses in 1916, but also won 15 games for his team; a team that lost 117 games. He was on the winning team for three World Series, and on the losing team for two others. He had eight seasons where his record was even or he had more losses than wins, but his career record was 196-184. He won 46 games as a member of the Red Sox, but went 1-8 with the Washington Senators. Nevermind the fact that his time with the Senators was toward the end of his career. 

Bullet Joe Bush is also the #1 comp to Rick Porcello during his rookie year. The hope here is that is where the comparisons end. Bush didn't play long or successfully after his 26th year in the league. It'd be nice if Good Rick Porcello pitches today, though considering he has pitched fairly well most of the season, that is a pretty good bet.

Here we go, Bullet Rick Porcello!

Game 46 vs. Minnesota Twins: Boof Bonser

Don't fret, Joe Kelly. It can always be worse. Just ask Boof Bonsor. 

The Red Sox acquired Boof Bonser from the Twins in December 2009, and he made exactly two appearances before he was shipped out of town.

On June 9th, in a game between the Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, Clay Buchholz faced off against Justin Masterson. Justin Masterson threw a complete game 2 hit shut out. Yeah, I'm sure you're thinking, " Wow! Where can we get guys like that--oh, right.". Anyway, Buchholz held his own, giving up just three runs over seven innings. He gave way to Boof Bonser. Boof just had to get through an inning. Hell, a single out might have been nice.

Alas, Boof Bonser started his Red Sox career with an infinity ERA. He entered the game, and promptly gave up a walk, single, walk, and another single before Joe Nelson came on and doused Bonser's smoldering fire with gasoline. Nelson gave up a single, home run, another single, a double and a walk before registering an out. 

Yesterday Joe Kelly had a rough outing, but he can take pride in knowing he is no Boof Bonser. Bonser's second(and final appearance) in a Red Sox uniform started off with 3 singles before recording an out. The Red Sox were already behind ten runs, so mop up duty apparently wasn't an easy thing for Bonsor either. 

The 2010 Red Sox team that featured Boof Bonser won 89 games and finished in third place. With the way the American League East is playing out, 89 wins might just win the division. Only 3.5 games separate first place and fifth place, and the AL East leading Rays are only two games over .500. 

If nothing else, that tells you there is a whole lot more baseball to be played. Hopefully not in the style of Boof Bonser.

Game 45 vs. Minnesota Twins: Tom Brunansky

Everybody knows that David Ortiz is the biggest success story the Red Sox achieved with a former Twin, but as 1990 gets further in the rearview mirror, Tom Brunansky risks being left behind in history. 

Brunansky was a member of the 1987 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins and had heroics that helped the team to their first title since the team had moved to Minnesota. The following year Bruno was shipped out to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he logged two season before he started his last season in St. Louis hitting .158. The Red Sox had a surplus of relief pitching, and shipped Lee Smith to St. Louis in exchange for Tom Brunansky.

Bruno hit well the rest of the way, but his biggest contribution to the 1990 season came at the end of the game that finished the season. The Red Sox needed a victory to secure the AL East title, and they earned that win in a most dramatic fashion. Ozzie Guillen hit a line drive to the far corner of right field. In 1990 there was one camera angle, and it only included a diving Tom Brunansky at the initial moment of catching the ball. Imagine Twitter exploding if there was only one obstructed view camera angle? Here's the clip:

Mike Napoli's resurgence over the last five games or so made me think of Tom Brunansky. Napoli was a member of a few Angels teams that reached the postseason. He was jettisoned prior to the 2011 season, first to the Toronto Blue Jays and then the Texas Rangers a few days later. On the Rangers he helped the team nearly win the franchise's first World Series title. Two years later he helped the Red Sox win the 2013 World Series.

What's the moral of today's story? Maybe these guys, Napoli and company, aren't quite as done as many suggest. Maybe they just need a little more than a quarter of a season to get things sorted out.

Lets hope it continues against the Minnesota Twins.