Dear MVP, David Ortiz, AKA Father Papi,

I don’t know what you said the other night in the dugout. No one without a Red Sox uniform does. That’s probably a good thing. Sometimes it’s less about wording. Sometimes it’s more about the sentiment and its delivery by a man possessed.

I went to bed last night smiling and repeating the phrase “We won the World Series. We won the World Series.” I’d like to think that was all because of a little ministering by Father Papi. So thank you. I am not going to say the city needed that. We didn’t. But we sure appreciated it. You already consoled us through some dark days this spring. And you did it in the way Bostonians appreciate – with brevity and bravado.

The other day my mom asked why you aren’t captain of the team. I couldn’t answer that. Varitek retired with the title in 2011 and before him the Sox hadn’t had a captain since Jim Rice.  I wonder if it’s because sometimes you break things in the dugout when you’re mad? Like the phone. Or perhaps it’s more simple than that. Maybe you just don’t want to do the paperwork.  Either way I am going to make a case for it to John Henry. You have given the Sox three rings. I think we can cough up a C.

Now, I know the win means you are all going to shave now. That’s fine. All I ask is that you don’t get fat. Don’t come back injured. And return hungry. Enjoy the parade boys.

-Kristen

Dear boys,

I don’t know you anymore. The last time we spoke was September of 2011. And it wasn’t good.

It was pretty much the worst breakup I’ve had since the fifth grade when I called my then boyfriend a shit for flirting with some cute blonde at recess. I admit, I overreacted. But I was still learning about relationships – how to have one and recognize a keeper when it’s right in front of you. You know. We all make mistakes.

I am going to be honest. I am not over Tito. He was my first. And second. That meant something to me. I really thought we had a good thing going with those championships. What happened?

I know. I know. We can’t go back. But Bobby Valentine? He gave us the worst season since 1965. I think you can at least give Tito a public apology. And when I say ‘you’ I mean Larry Lucchino. 

But I don’t want to dwell on the past. I am writing you to tell you I think we should talk. Because today I found myself hovering on your url. And I admit it. I checked you out. Then I downloaded the MLB gameday app for my phone. Now we can be together even when we’re apart.

Don’t go getting ahead of yourselves. My mind didn’t even go to October. However, I do think we might have the start of something. If you don’t totally fuck up again. Tonight the sell out streak at Fenway was broken. You clearly have some work to do. And I don’t just mean how Hanrahan totally botched the save.

But it was actually nice to listen to you boys totally go down in flames in the ninth. A friend warned that I shouldn’t get too invested in you. That you would just break my heart again. I say good. That means I at least care.

Sincerely,

Kristen

Dear Tito,

I don’t blame you for wanting to leave.

This year you were saddled with a bunch of overpaid, underperforming divas when you should have been coaching ballplayers. Perhaps managing both was too much to ask? In the final days of the Sox’s latest epic collapse I frequently heard from fans that we didn’t deserve to go to the postseason. It was a phrase I admitted more than once. The truth is, I didn’t like our team this year. All the newbies Theo hired have zero personality or work ethic. And none look good in tight pants.

The veterans were no better. Probably worse in my opinion. They couldn’t even muster the decency to look ashamed of themselves – and each other – during the September slide. To be honest, I’ve been a little distant from them the past two years. My relationship with Josh cooled when he stopped answering the call to perform. People said maybe he was injured. I just think he stopped caring about the game. About his teammates. About us all.  I have put his jersey in the back of the drawer where all the T shirts from all the boys who broke my heart remain. Including Nomar.

But I am not going to put it all on Josh or the rest of the bullpen. I won’t pin the blame on Lackey, the oldest 32-year-old I’ve ever seen. It was a collective failure by a team bound only by the name on the bottom of their paycheck.

If the front office is that eager to see you go, all I ask is one last favor. Would you mind escorting everyone besides Pede, Lester, and Jacoby out too? Just leave them in the parking lot next to the recycling bins.

Anyhow Tito, thanks for the championships. I don’t think we could have done it all without you.

-Kristen

Dear team-who-continues-to-disappoint,

Please check your Palm Pilots. Your iPhones. Or your Droids. Whatever it is you have been referring to for text messages from your ladyfriends in between games. Please scroll to the top. Now check the date. See that?

We are now playing in the regular season.  Please update your calendars to reflect the change. Stop hustling the city of Boston and get to work. Make a plan. And make sure everyone else is one board before you leave the dugout. Because right now apparently only Josh Beckett is in on it.

“Everyone here knows how to win,” he told reporters after tonight’s fourth consecutive loss. “We’ll figure it out. We know what we’ve go to do.”

Ask Josh for details. In the meantime, let me help you out. It’s called winning.The concept is rather straightforward. You simply score more runs than the other team. You outpitch them and you outhit them. It’s not really science. It’s more like first grade math. I know you can handle it.

Now, don’t be thinking that just because I moved to Utah means I am not paying attention. It just means my flights are 90 minutes closer than I was. So get on it.

Kristen

housekeeping measures

Dear Theo,

Were you watching last night’s game?

No?

Well fine, I wasn’t either.

But you should know, I’m tired of hearing that the season is young, that anything can happen, that you’re going to turn things around. Quite frankly, I’m tired of lip service. I’m not paying to watch cute boys in tight pants play with their bats, and I am not paying to listen to excuses. I’m paying to watch a ballgame. Not a team that happens to wear some jerseys that look familiar.

Last night I listened to the first inning – when we were shelled. Then I tuned in for the ninth – when we got shelled again. At some point in the 7 innings in between I am told we played a good game. I’m told Timmy Wake performed like the stud he is, picking up the rest of Dice-K’s broken ego after another disappointing outing. I’m told we homered five times.

What was I doing instead? Laundry. Because clean sheets are always a good decision. Out of habit, I switched on the game. Perfectly timed to catch Papelbon implode on the mound just as I switched the wash.

It got me thinking: Maybe it’s time to take out the trash too?

Think about it,

Kristen

signed. sealed. delivered.

Dear Josh Beckett,

So.

About last night … I understand if you need to cuddle later.

I mean, things definitely got a little heated. I think that there were some moments we both wish you could take back. But I want you to know, I’m not going to dwell on what happened between you and Posada. And Granderson. Look, I understand how much Opening Day means to you. So I won’t mention your past issues with performance anxiety and how sometimes, um, you’re not able to, um, locate your curveball. (Or fastball for that matter.)

Josh, believe me, that kind of talk makes me uncomfortable too. You have no idea how it makes me feel when people come up to me asking, ‘What’s up with your boyfriend? Why can’t he find the K zone?’ Josh, contrary to belief, that is not a mythical spot in the batter’s box. It exists. You’ve found it before. I know this. If you need a refresher course, I can show you just where it is. All you have to do is ask.

But let’s trump last night’s shortcoming up to frayed nerves. I mean, it freaked me out too when I saw CC step onto the mound. Both of him. I mean, size does matter. But that was just excessive. Kind of like John Lackey’s contract. But we won’t go there either… Because this isn’t the time or place for that discussion. Because right now, this is between me and you, and the commitment you exhibited today. I mean, four more years? And you didn’t even shop around for a better deal? You say you couldn’t imagine being with anyone else? I don’t even know what to say Josh. I’m touched.

Love,
Little spoon

that time of year

Whether or not you are a fan of Punxsutawney Phil, believe that a rodent can predict the end of winter on the off chance he doesn’t see his shadow, or just like the tradition behind it all, February 2 is a day of wondering about the future and hoping a better six weeks lies ahead.

The fact is, Groundhog Day is a true sign that baseball season is just around the corner.  Quite frankly, I live in San Francisco – a city where it is perpetually almost spring. I could care less what the groundhog says. But in just two and half weeks pitchers and catchers report to Fort Meyers for the start of Red Sox preseason; and that readers, is always something that captures my attention.

Since Phil is accurate less than 40 percent of the time and people still travel in droves to the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania to await how quickly he returns to his tree stump in Gobbler’s Knob, I am going to make some predictions of my own about the upcoming baseball season. And using fact based analysis, superstition, my attraction to specific players, and innate BS detector, I have an equal or better chance of being right. So Sox fans don’t be sad that spring has been put on hold for another six weeks (at least). Here are some dates to look forward to and my prognosis for the 2010 season.

These are the facts:
Feb 12 – Truck Day. The Red Sox’s 18 wheeler departs for Florida laden with equipment and expectation.
Feb 18 – Pitchers and catchers report
Feb 22 – (my birthday!) and positional players arrive
Feb 24 – (Emily’s birthday) and first full squad workout

Here’s what we can anticipate happening over the next six weeks:

Clay Buchholz develops a criminal record. My friend Michael and I have determined that he needs a more commanding presence on the mound. He needs that something extra that really puts the fear of God into opposing batters. At the very least, he needs to look like he isn’t about to burst into tears if he throws out of the strike zone. So we anticipate hearing rumors of assault and battery charges emerging from a raucous at some dive bar in Eastern Florida that can never be traced and never confirmed. Maybe he could arrive wearing bandages on his non-pitching arm for show. And shave his head for good measure. He could attempt to grow facial hair. But I strongly caution against debuting it without checking with Kevin Youkilis first.

John Lackey comes clean. He finally admits that he is 45 and not 31 as his bio says. He arrives in shape and ready to prove to Bostonians that the $82.5 million contract was not the most retarded move the front office made over the winter besides not resigning Jason Bay. Lackey forms a longstanding friendship with Josh Beckett where he convinces him it’s time he gives up the ghost, pick up the phone, and finally call to apologize for ignoring me last season.

Josh Beckett is fine.  I receive said phone call. The first of many throughout our blossoming relationship.

Jonathan Papelbon gets back on the right side of crazy. He was too sane last year. His inability to close out a game without scaring people became predictable. Over the winter Pap stopped reading and seeing the team therapist, whatever it was he was doing to try and make himself better. He accepts himself as is: a loose cannon with heat. That worked.

Dice-K adheres to the prescribed off-season training regimen and doesn’t get fat. That is all.

Jason Varitek finds peace with his future. He puts down the mitt and picks up the clipboard. I never have to see him standing at the plate or behind it again. Unless he somehow found a way to throw to second and hit in clutch situations. (Dream on people.)

Timmy Wakefield continues to be a viable pitcher for the Sox until he’s 85 and we are rolling him out to the mound in a wheelchair.

Papi sucks less than last year.

Boof Bonser becomes a household name. As of 20 minutes ago I knew nothing about this man or even that he was a member of the Boston Red Sox until checking the roster. The man legally changed his name to Boof in 2001. This is a sign that he could be exactly the sort of character the Sox need to save the 2010 season from totally sucking.