Road trips and off days… in some ways they make me restless, since I can’t pick up the cameras. But since I’m always, always behind on editing, it does give me a chance to try to catch up! So if you will, let’s set the wayback machine for June 15, in Cincinnati…
A beautiful Sunday morning! Justin Masterson smiles at Daisuke Matsuzaka wielding a bat.
More smiling! Jacoby Ellsbury with some warmup throws.
It’s officially an epidemic! Sean Casey with a big grin. One of my favorite things about seeing the Red Sox on the road is actually what I’m documenting here: a full BP session, which usually starts with stretching and joking around.
Mike Lowell continues my theme.
Manny and Alex Gonzalez. I miss Gonzo.
… Does Gonzo miss me?
Well, he gave me my belly shot!
Looking at these then, I was nostalgic for these two as teammates; now there’s a different edge with Manny gone.
Bronson Arroyo inspects Coco’s cornrows. Sorry, Bronson, he’s got you beat there!
Justin fields a tough hop. (He seems to have a tough audience back there, but you’ll notice that they’re all far enough out not to have to do much!)
Whoops–looks like Justin’s got critics in the infield, too!
I can’t tell if Kevin Cash is laughing with Dustin Pedroia, or at him!
More nostalgia, since Brandon Moss now calls Pittsburgh home.
Bartolo Colon, not satisfied with three balls in hand, goes for a fourth.
Dusty Baker’s son threw out the first pitch. (Dusty tried to leave him out there too long, of course.)
Uh oh. The real action is starting, and Mike Timlin will not smile.
There’s a part of my heart reserved for players I ought not to have any connection to, like Homer Bailey. I just like the kid.
Ells with a successful slide into second. It’s hard to shoot anything else when he’s on base!
Josh Beckett on the mound.
Mmmmmmm… Jason Varitek samples his batting gloves.
Coco Crisp with a biiiig swing…
… followed by a nice lope around the bases…
… and a helmet skritchie from Tek.
Not to be outdone is Jacoby…
… with a big swing and a lope of his own!
Tek in his Father’s Day accented gear. I’m sure you’ve noticed the ribbons and the blue eye “black.”
Pedie has a big swing to end all big swings…
… but it won’t be quite enough this time.
Josh Beckett at the plate. I was hoping for a home run…
… but had to settle for Coco looking philosophical about being left on base.
More laughter! And here a little sympathy for Julio Lugo, despite my love for Jed Lowrie.
I admire many things about Jacoby Ellsbury’s game, but there just no point in denying that he’s alarmingly photogenic, too.
David Aardsma. Note that it gets a bit easier to shoot this angle when the fans thin out a bit.
A skip ahead to postgame; Manny attempts some unexpected therapeutic massage on Colon, with a baseball.
Have I been busted? Javy Lopez smirks, Gary Tuck smiles, Craig Hansen… well, hang in there, Craig, in six weeks you’ll be safe from me!
now the radio stutters. snaps to life.
some sour song that sets it right.
and when London falls
he’d like to call
but the stars collide.
they’re beautiful and much maligned.
in a universe where you see the worst,
and it’s up to you to fix it.
I’ve written before of my mixed feelings about Manny Ramirez, but it certainly seemed to me that over the last few weeks the pendulum swung very, very far toward the “tired of Manny” end. And in the last days, I couldn’t envision any scenario in which the Sox didn’t trade Manny. So I battened down the hatches, said my prayers over the players I least wanted to lose in the collateral damage (including you, Mr. Masterson, and you, Mr. Bowden), and held my breath. As everyone knows, as the minutes ticked by it looked less and less likely that a deal would happen, but as with the Nomar trade in 2004, the word finally broke after the deadline, and Manny was gone.
What’s hard for me to understand is that no few media people reported that for the first part of this year, Manny was as happy as they’d ever seen him–and my photos seemed to bear that out.
Opening Day: why high five when you can touch fingertips? April 8, 2008.
Cavorting with Youk, pregame, April 13, 2008.
With the two teammates I think were best for him: Lugo and Papi.
Getting into it Manny-style with the Royals, May 22, 2008.
Home Run #500 in Baltimore, May 31, 2008.
June 3, 2008.
“What do you mean you got traded?” Cincinnati, June 14, 2008.
With Alex Gonzalez, Cincinnati, June 15, 2008.
After Youk’s grand slam, making light of their supposed issues, July 12, 2008.
I can’t help but think that Scott Boras had something to do with this relatively dramatic change. After all, Manny’s new agent wouldn’t have been in line for a payday if the Red Sox picked up Manny’s option, and what better way to make sure Manny made sure he wasn’t wanted than to make him think he was disrespected?
Regardless of why things broke down so irrevocably, it wasn’t just Manny who experienced the consequences. Manny’s off to Los Angeles, but two of my favorite youngsters are off to Pittsburgh.
If you’ve checked out sittingstill.net in the past, you’ve probably noticed that Craig Hansen has been a favorite photo target of mine. I couldn’t help it; I’m not sure I can think of another player where I think my snaps are so much better than anything out there from the pros!
September 25, 2005
March 15, 2006
With Paps, July 31, 2006.
March 3, 2007
May 30, 2008
July 9, 2008
I did shoot him pitching too, honest. But of course, he struggled a bit. He was probably brought up too fast in 2006, and it seemed to me that the resultant up-and-down year, plus some tweaking the Sox tried to do with his mechanics, left him not knowing which way was up. Spending all of 2007 in Pawtucket seemed to be the right plan, and he did pitch well, if inconsistently, for the Sox this year. My hope for him is that a fresh start and the National League work some Cla Meredith-like magic for him.
And we also lost Brandon Moss.
March 7, 2007.
Wreaking havoc with the Fenway scoreboard, September 2, 2007.
Defeating Mirabelli in rock-paper-scissors, September 11, 2007.
Collecting his World Series ring, April 19, 2008.
Evading man-monster Richie Sexson, June 8, 2008.
My hope for Mossy is that, like David Murphy, a new team will provide new opportunities, and he’ll stick on the major league roster. He’s been one of the nicest players I’ve ever had a chance to chat with; Dan Hoard, one of the PawSox radio guys, named him with Sean Casey, David Murphy, and David Pauley as members of the all-time list of nicest professional athletes. I know good character doesn’t always translate to success in the big leagues, but I hope that in this case he looks back at today as a positive turning point in solid career.
Jason Bay… better put your best face on tomorrow night. You’ve got a big role to fill, but I promise I’ll always try to catch you in good light.