Saves and Shutouts

All stories originally published at Saves and Shutouts, at Only full pieces are included here.

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Basketball as a profession
I don't have much in the way of sports writing these days, but Bill Russell got me halfway out of retirement here. Sept. 8


Tuukka Rask's quiet battle
Too many people look at Rask and see a whipping boy, when they should be seeing a warrior. June 11

Blaine Lacher and the virtue of patience
Lacher's NHL career is an extreme example, but a reminder to give young goalies space to breathe early in their careers. April 20


Fourteen years to forever
Boston had never seen anything like Zdeno Chara. Dec. 31

Why not Jaroslav Halak?
The Bruins are moving on to the second round of the NHL's pandemic bubble experiment. So it makes total sense that the backup goalie will be the guy who does or doesn't lead Boston to glory. Aug. 20

Preparing for a fan-free Celtics experience
Basketball's on the way back, and it should be interesting. But imagine Kevin Garnett playing without fans... July 24

It was impossible to ignore Jarome Iginla's greatness
Iginla's induction into the hall of fame was a good excuse to remember his one year in Boston. June 26

I'm out
Baseball and I had a good run. Maybe I'll check back in at some point. June 16

Ray Bourque going to work, every day
The sheer force of will that Bourque demonstrated in his career was inspiring. May 28

Five games to get you through the doldrums
If I'm going to watch this much hockey, I might as well put it to work and let someone else enjoy the fruits of my mindless youtube watching research. April 17

Reliving Nifty's glory days
Beyond the highlight reels, watching all these vintage games means I get to witness Rick Middleton in real time. April 15

Normand Léveillé and the Greatest Hurrah
Léveillé final skate at Boston Garden was not his final great moment. April 10

In which we discuss the sustained brilliance of Mark Howe
It's easy to fly under the radar when your father is one of the greatest to ever play the game. April 9

The perforated edges of the Barons, North Stars and Gilles Meloche
An altered hockey card is a springboard to the merger of the Cleveland and Minnesota teams, circa 1978. April 8

Sean Burke and the navy blue vs. green debate
The navy blue Whalers jersey deserves more love. April 7

A very specific period where Montreal isn’t the villain
It took a while to get to the point where I didn't enjoy looking at the Canadiens' sweater. April 6

Mike Gartner went by in a blur
It's still a little bit of a bummer to me that Gartner didn't get to lift the Stanley Cup in 1994. April 3

P.J. Axelsson, making the right play
For more than a decade, Axelsson was one of the few Bruins who could be counted on for every single shift. April 2

Ron Tugnutt's masterpiece
Tugnutt's 70-save performance in a 3-3 tie is still one of the most entertaining games I've ever seen. April 1

'Go out and win the hockey game'
Andy Brickley has practically become an institution in the Bruins' broadcast booth. March 31

Locked in with the Great One
Scouring Wayne Gretzky's numbers and finding even more ridiculous measures of his statistical dominance is a common game for me. March 30

Jeff Odgers has a job to do
Anyone can play hard for a winner. It takes something extra to do that when everything goes south. March 27

Andy Moog and artistic decisions on ice
Moog's Bruins mask was so good, he took it with him to Dallas. March 26

The mysterious past of Gordie Roberts
I am not exaggerating about how blown away I was to see "New England Whalers" on the back of this guy's card. March 25

Al Iafrate's sonic burst across New England
After writing the previous day's post, I decided to start pulling cards out of the pile and seeing what I could come up with. This was the first. March 24

When in doubt, turn to hockey
The coronavirus-instigated lock-down at home led me to a familiar place. March 23


Tuning back in for the Celtics (and Isaiah Thomas)
Thomas came back to Boston for a night, and was greeted by a team that is enjoying basketball for the first time since he played the point for Brad Stevens. Nov. 14

Even with the rain, it's just a game
The Red Sox lost one game and had another paused for three weeks by rain. It happens. Aug. 8

We now go live to Brock Holt...
Holt had some words for the umpire after being called out on strikes. It was a good time. July 26

David Krejci is still chipping away
On the eve of a third Stanley Cup Final, Krejci continues to do his job and add to his resume. May 26

One thousand games with Patrice Bergeron
In honor of Bergeron's 1,000th game, and what that means to a stranger who watches him play a game. Feb. 5

Rick Middleton, a nifty defender
I got on a roll with hockey at this point. Here's a look at the numbers behind Middleton's transformation into a two-way forward. Jan. 14

A brief history of the Capitals' ownership of Boston
After watching Washington beat the Bruins for the 14th straight time, it seemed like a ... fun ... exercise to look back at all the nonsense. Jan. 11

Torey Krug and cures for the winter blues
Watching the Bruins on a random weeknight is inherently comforting. Watching Torey Krug do weird things during the games just makes them more fun. Jan. 9


161 and counting with Mookie Betts
Whatever happens in October, this has been a special season, with Mookie in the middle of it all. Sept. 30

Outcasts, antique stores and Larry Bird
When I walked into an antique store in Tennessee, I was not expecting to stumble into dozes of Larry Bird cards and some pent up, fifth-grade aggression. April 21

Searching for Bobby Orr and the other great Bruins
A while back I started working on a graphic of the Bruins' all-time team. That didn't come together, but I still liked the team I built. April 12

I stole this from a hockey card
A look at Bill Barilko, the Tragically Hip and a hockey card I've been keeping on my desk. April 9

Hanley Ramirez doing Hanley Ramirez things
Hanley won another game for the Red Sox, and I continue my slow realization that he's becoming one of my favorite players. April 5

Jim Ed
A post and a graphic celebrating Jim Rice, and also a baseball card I found for a dollar when I was 19 or 20. March 11

Rick Nash and a return to something old
I'm relaunching the blog and bringing back an old concept. Feb. 26


Hanley Ramirez and the long, repeated thaw
With David Ortiz gone, there's something comforting about watching Hanley Ramirez repeatedly go deep in Spring Training. March 21


Goodbye, Papi
Travis Shaw flied out to end Game 3 of the ALDS, and that marked the end of David Ortiz's final game. Oct. 11

The night Boston climbed on Hanley Ramirez's back
Ramirez chose this night to be ridiculous in an especially ridiculous game. July 21

What Would Dave Parker Do?
A little story about a job I didn't like to accompany a graphic I made of Cobra. March 9


The Royals, the Darkness and sustained insanity
In the space of about three hours, I watched The Darkness do their ridiculous rock and roll thing, then watched the Royals do their ridiculous baseball thing. Nov. 2

Falling behind on the World Series
I came in late to Game 1 and went to bed before it ended, so here's what I thought anyway. Oct. 28

Rich Hill at the summer's end
It's cold again and the Red Sox are winding it down, while Rich Hill keeps doing the impossible. Sept. 28

Pedro Martinez was — and is — worth it
Getting to Fenway Park to see Pedro have his number 45 retired was a borderline nightmare. But in the end, that didn't matter. July 29

The stubborn resilience of Clay Buchholz
Through all the injuries and criticism and failings, Buchholz has a knack for being there for the Red Sox when he's really needed. June 30

Fred Lynn had a game tomorrow
Here's a thing where I decided not to watch the Red Sox that night, but wanted to think about baseball anyway. May 22

Josh Hamilton, human being and baseball player
The Angels paid for the honor of dumping Hamilton, a recovering drug addict, back onto the Texas Rangers after they realized they weren't equipped or sympathetic enough to deal with what that means. April 28

Mookie Betts in a blur
In his first Opening Day at Fenway Park, Mookie Betts did everything but throw a no-hitter. April 13

Opening Day is only about a week away, but tapping into that usual enthusiasm before baseball season has been slow going. March 30

It will stop snowing someday
With seven feet of snow on the ground and no sign of the record-breaking weather letting up, it's important to try and stay optimistic. Feb. 15

Aspirations for greatness, via Pedro Martinez
Pedro is likely on his way to the Hall of Fame, but that isn't nearly the most important part of his legacy, for me. Jan. 5


The lighter side of Kevin Youkilis
Youk announced his retirement after a year in Japan. I had some thoughts on what it meant to watch him play. Nov. 3

Madison Bumgarner's blinding, historic greatness
On two days rest after shutting out the Royals in Game 5, Bumgarner rescued the Giants again, pitching five more shutout innings in an incredible display. Oct. 30

Madison Bumgarner in the present tense
Bumgarner threw another gem to win another World Series game on the same night that Oscar Taveras died. Oct. 27

When the summer ends
The 2014 season started strangely and ends that way, taking with it a number of casualties. And still, it's time to miss it. Sept. 28

Tomorrow doesn't know Jon Lester
The day before the trading deadline, fans are just sitting and waiting to learn Jon Lester's fate. Lester is, too. July 30

Setting the table for 2015, via 1987
The Red Sox are following up a World Series title with a stumble and an opportunity to let the next generation get their feet wet in the Majors. It's worked before. July 21

Remembering Bob Welch
I saw Welch pitch for the dominant Oakland A's as a kid and never completely understood how good he was in the moment. But he got the job done. June 10

Brock Holt securing his spot, wherever it might be
Holt started the year as an extra infielder stashed in the minors and has emerged as Boston's most consistent hitter not named "Ortiz." June 10

Belief, redemption and Manny Ramirez
As recently as the morning before, I couldn't have envisioned Manny Ramirez returning to Fenway Park a changed man and receiving such a warm welcome. But, so it was. May 29

We'll fix the car by taking the wheels off
Someone within Major League Baseball, anonymously, thinks baseball games should be seven innings. This is a stupid thing to think. April 7

Beyond Opening Day
Taking in all the variations of Opening Day is fun, but the real thrill came from the full realization that baseball season was here and would be sticking around for some time. April 3

The unbearable reality of an endless winter
It's not even 20 degrees outside and baseball is two weeks away. That is not conducive to obsessing over the finer points of a season on the horizon. March 17

May the harassment of the Marlins continue
The Miami Marlins were crying foul because the Red Sox wouldn't play along with their latest ploy to suck money out of their fans. Too bad. March 7

Tim Wallach and admirable obsessions
When I read an interview with a man who's trying to collect every Tim Wallach baseball card in existance, I was immediately impressed. Feb. 7

Strikeouts, walks and cryptic 2013 predictions
In checking out a few 2013 baseball cards well after the fact, I noticed the folks at Topps were nearly dead-on with Koji Uehara. Jan. 20


A very good year
2013 was a weird year, mostly a good one. But as baseball is concerned, it belonged to David Ortiz. Dec. 31

Temporary, like Ian Kinsler
Reading Junot Diaz's "This Is How You Lose Her" and looking at my Pedro Martinez figure and hearing about the Ian Kinsler-Prince Fielder trade lead to this. Nov. 20

John Valentin turns three
A random exposure to a 19-year-old baseball highlight courtesy of YouTube's "recommended" feature sent me back down memory lane. Nov. 15

Waking from a World Series dream
Two days later, and after filing a column for the Standard-Times, I thought I should really talk about how it felt to see the Red Sox win the World Series. Nov. 1

Xander, Victorino, the couch and the pennant
Watching Xander Boegarts work the count and Shane Victorino battle through injuries to push the Red Sox into the World Series was pretty damn amazing, okay? Oct. 20

Here comes that weird chill
The Red Sox are about to play the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS at Fenway Park, and it's really starting to feel like October in New England. Oct. 14

David Price aces game 163
Watching Price battle through less-than-stellar physical health to pitch Tampa Bay past Texas in the 163rd game to get into a Wild Card position reminded me of watching some of the aces from years past. Oct. 1

Coming home to the Red Sox
I watched the Red Sox clinch the American League East alone in my apartment with a six-pack. It's strange, but I've come a long way. Sept. 21

Daniel Bard's downward spiral
The news of the Red Sox designating Daniel Bard for assignment seemed unthinkable two years ago. But when it happened, it was just the next, inevitable step. Sept. 1

From 1993 to the future
No matter how much distance comes between my 11-year-old self and the present, I always remember the 1993 Sox fondly. More fondly than most, anyway. Sept. 1

Racking up more hits than can be believed
While sick, I rewatched part of Ken Burns' Baseball and realized that Ty Cobb had 1,157 more hits than games played. That seemed insane, so I dug around for more. Aug. 31

Lost in the '80s, again
As a kid, I used to take baseball almanacs with me to school and study all the batting champs and World Series winners whenever I could. This has funneled into a near obsession with Red Sox quizzes on Sporcle lately. Aug. 28

Turning two and tuning out
In the middle of watching a game and trying to fall asleep, Stephen Drew, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz spun a gem against San Francisco. Aug. 20

Steven Wright, vicim of chaos
The Red Sox' rookie knuckleballer was scheduled to make a spot start after going 2-0 out of the bullpen. As it goes sometimes with a knuckleball, it went poorly. Aug. 7

Mourning the trade of Jose Iglesias
The three-team trade that left Jake Peavy in Boston and Jose Iglesias in Detroit will, by all rational means, make the Red Sox a better baseball team. But that doesn't mean the trade feels good. July 31

Having no opinion on Ryan Braun
I suppose I should be furious about Ryan Braun's drug use and demand an apology from him. But I'm not, and really, anyone who's that upset needs to look at themselves. July 23

Daniel Nava, a curious near-All Star
The transformation of Daniel Nava from fringe Major Leaguer to defensive wiz and power hitter was one of the more unexpected turnarounds I've ever seen. July 4

Reconnecting with this baseball thing, again
With the Bruins' season over, it's time once again to remember the simple little joys of sitting down with the Red Sox after a long day at work. July 2

The music is always louder after a loss
The day after the Bruins lost in three overtimes to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, I thought about Jose Valverde and a Cubs fan I sat next to in Arizona in 2007. June 13

Ignoring baseball because it's the Cup
The Red Sox have had an interesting couple of weeks, and I've seen practically none of it because all my energy is focused on the Bruins right now. May 17

The depressing near-reality of the umpire order
I'd love to say that this was a really thoughtful piece, but really, I made a photoshop that made me laugh and I wrote something so I'd have an excuse to post it. Ta-da! May 9

David Ortiz and the city of Boston
Since coming back from injury, David Ortiz has been hitting everything in sight. He's also done his small part to help bring a little joy and pride into the city. April 30

Toasting the Oakland A's
Oakland is in Boston to take on the Red Sox, and that was a good excuse to talk up old times of catching the A's in Spring Training in Phoenix. April 23

Some thoughts on my city. April 16

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Boston's rebirth
Every generation, the Boston Red Sox seemed to be saved from some kind of mediocrity purgutory by a sensational rookie. Jackie Bradley Jr. might be the next in a line that includes Nomar Garciaparra, Carlton Fisk and Ted Williams.April 4

The repetitions of March
Spring training reintroduces any number of rituals, both for the players and the bored, impatient fans (myself) back home waiting for the season to begin. March 12

Turning enemies into allies with Mike Napoli
After terrorizing the Red Sox for five seasons, Mike Napoli has come to Boston to man first base and not give Jon Lester nightmares. Feb. 11

Brandon Webb's quiet brilliance
Webb announced his retirement after three years away from the game due to injury, and I looked back on one of my favorite Arizona Diamondbacks. Feb. 5

Alex Gonzalez and the art of fielding
Early on in Chad Harbach's incredible book The Art of Fielding, my mind flashed back to Alex Gonzalez and the 2006 Red Sox. Jan. 18

Suffering through the hot stove season
To everyone who follows baseball's every move in the offseason, I understand your passion. I just don't share it in the same way. Jan. 5


With Dickey trade, the Mets remain amazin'
Only the Mets could take all the goodwill that R.A. Dickey received in his Cy Young Award-winning season and flush it down the toilet like the chances of another pennant. Dec. 17

The Giants cap a run to remember
Quite simply, I cannot remember liking a team outside of Boston as much as I did the 2012 San Francisco Giants. They were everything a great baseball team should be. Oct. 29

Marco Scutaro, an MVP to be named later
It didn't take long for Scutaro to become an all-time favorite while he was Boston's shortstop, so seeing him push the San Francisco Giants into the World Series was special. Oct. 24

In defense of honest debate and the Triple Crown
I'll be honest; when I saw that Keith Law called Mike Trout "the only rational choice" for MVP, I had kind of had enough. Let's cool it with the end-all, be-all of baseball debates. Oct. 2

The fire rises from Baltimore
A little fun with the Orioles and Batman and some graphical jumping jacks at the expense of the New York Yankees. I certainly hope they win the division. Sept. 12

Sizing up the Pirates' October hopes
The Pittsburgh Pirates were longshots to make the playoffs entering September, but the fact that they were even in the discussion was worth celebrating. Sept. 3

The Red Sox have gone LA
Tired of the middling performances and looking to start over, the Red Sox and Dodgers pulled off the biggest baseball trade in ages. One of the few instances where "shocking" is an apt description. Aug. 25

This is the bottom
A little moodier than I typically like to be, let's say that. Boston Red Sox baseball, bless it. Aug. 24

Johnny Pesky loved baseball, and in turn he was loved by players, fans and the baseball world. Aug. 13

No, I don't much care for Andrew Miller
I made a graphic for The Platoon Advantage that (hilariously!) points out the differences between Andrew Miller and Chris Sale. Here, I explain why Miller is dead to me, as a baseball player at least. Aug. 8

Making a difference, one Wiffle Ball loss at a time
I took part in a Wiffle Ball tournament to help fight Type 1 diabetes. We lost, and it wasn't close, but it was still a great time. July 31

Worst season ever
Four heartbroken paragraphs on the trade of Ichiro from the Mariners to the ... Yankees. July 23

Like Fisk, Youkilis made his South Side mark quickly
Kevin Youkilis wasted no time in turning his season around after being unceremoniously traded to the White Sox. It's reminiscent of the fast start Carlton Fisk jumped out to in 1981. July 19

For David Ortiz, home runs can't buy respect
Despite being the most consistent hitter in the Red Sox lineup, Ortiz can't seem to get much momentum towards a two-year contract. It's not hard to sympathize with him. July 5

When home runs are actually exciting
Watching a bunch of brutes mash baseballs and plod around the bases isn't much fun. Watching Giancarlo Stanton dazzle on a diamond, however, is. May 8

Rajon Rondo, basketball's answer to Pedro Martinez
Quite simply, Rondo is the most cerebral athlete I've seen in years, and the only comparable player I can think of is a pitcher who also seemed to impose his will on his opponents. May 6

The greatest career, over?
Mariano Rivera suffered a serious knee injury before a game, and his career is now in question. He's since vowed to return; I hope he does. May 4

Anatomy of a day in the Major Leagues
Will Middlebrooks made his big league debut agains the Oakland A's, and there is little as exciting as watching a player come to bat for the first time. I imagine it was exciting for him, too. May 3

A toast to Fenway Park's first 100 years
Fenway is a marvel of resilience and organic architecture. As a note, I've only been alive for 30 of Fenway's 100 seasons, so this leans a little heavily on that. April 20

Terry Francona the latest to battle Boston's institutional paranoia
Though he wound up going, Francona's initial resistance to attending Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebration was understandable. What isn't understandable is why everyone seems to be bad-mouthed when leaving the Red Sox. April 12

After three games, it could be worse for Boston
I don't know if there's anything quite as bad as blind panic after a bad start to a 162-game season. But in Boston, that seems to be a tradition. An annoying tradition. April 9

Looking forward and back on baseball's Opening Day
In addition to marking a new season and all the unbridled hope that (should) accompany that, Opening Day is also a time to look back on baseball's history. And, for me, Yaz. April 5

Uncovering the history of the hidden leagues
I just about flipped when Baseball Reference unveiled their Negro Leagues statistical database. While it's not as complete as I would've hoped, it's still pretty amazing. March 23

Mel Parnell, 1922-2012
As of this writing, Parnell is the greatest lefty in Red Sox history, and a gritty, hard-nosed character in their history. He will be missed. March 21

Dustin Pedroia, swinging through history
I wrapped up my Favorites Week with a graphic and thoughts on the current heart and soul of the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia. Also, there's no way he's actually 5'9", but that's neither here nor there. Feb. 25

Jason Varitek, a favorite through thick and thin
Rooting for the Red Sox' captain in 2005 was a fairly easy task. Rooting for him after his game started to slip became much tougher, but far more rewarding. Feb. 24

The furious reign of Pedro Martinez
One aspect of Pedro Martinez's game that pushed him past many of his peers was his ability to take anger and channel it into pure, inspired performance. He was Hulk-like. Feb. 23

Tim Naehring and embracing the underdog
I'm not kidding when I say it still bothers me that Naehring was left off the 1995 and '96 All-Star games. It was an injustice that laid the seeds of my not caring about the All-Star game anymore. Anyway, yeah, he was great. Feb. 22

Mike Greenwell, an original
I can't think of many players like Mike Greenwell. No agent, shaved head, beard, power ability but the preference was on hitting .300 year in and year out. And instead of taking a seat on the bench, he left the game early. Feb. 21

Dwight Evans, and the timeline of favorite players
To mark the true beginning of Spring Training, I started a week-long series looking at my favorite players, one by one, starting with Dewey. Feb. 20

Tim Wakefield, a picture of defiance
After 19 years throwing a ridiculous pitch in the major leagues, Tim Wakefield announced that he was calling it a career. Feb. 17

David Ortiz: a vital cog and an institution
Now here's something we can all get behind, the Red Sox signing David Ortiz for another year. He can still hit, and he gets to keep playing in the right uniform. Feb. 13

Requiem for a shortstop: Marco Scutaro
Finances led the Red Sox to trade Scutaro away to the Colorado Rockies before the 2012 season, so I spent 500 words mourning the departure of a true ballplayer. Jan. 23


Let the A's move to San Jose
Why haven't the A's been allowed to move 45 minutes down the Bay? Because of a territory claim by the Giants that has them stuck in a near-impossible situation. It's un-American. Dec. 29

In defense of Yuniesky Betancourt
I understand the reasoning behind heavy, statistical based analysis in baseball writing. But a big part of me wishes more writers and fans could see the simple beauty in Yuniesky Betancourt returning to Kansas City, Dec. 22

Shoppach signals the end of the Jason Varitek era
It was bound to happen, but the Red Sox signing of catcher Kelly Shoppach likely means that Jason Varitek's 15-year reign behind the Boston plate is coming to an end. Dec. 15

For many, call to the Hall long overdue
I think it's mandatory for every passionate baseball fan to have their Hall of Fame snub cases, and I'm no different. I lay off Dwight Evans in this one, but Luis Tiant and a few others are highlighted as Hall-worthy players. Dec. 8

Pedro Martinez calling it a career
Certainly, hearing that Martinez would soon announce his official retirement wasn't a surprise. But it did cause me to take a moment and look back on one of my favorite players. Dec. 5

Red Sox losing sight of priorities, via Valentine
Continuing their overreaction from losing too many games in one month of a six-month season, the Red Sox went with the big splash in hiring Bobby Valentine as manager. Nov. 30

Justin Verlander, fighting the good fight
I was predictably happy to hear that Verlander had won the American League's MVP award. So much so, that I wrote a quick thing and made a graphic. Nov. 22

Tebow, Horn and standing up to reality
I noticed a little parallel in Tim Tebow winning games despite having none of the tools of a typical NFL quarterback with Sam Horn, who for one summer in 1987 carried the Boston Red Sox. Nov. 19

Toronto comes back with a winner
The Blue Jays, like the Orioles, righted some uniform and logo wrongs, switching up their logo and jerseys to recall a time when they were the best team in the league. Nov. 18

No, really, pitchers are valuable
The idea that pitchers shouldn't win the MVP, ever, is ridiculous. Sometimes, a pitcher has a season that's too good to ignore, and 2011, Justin Verlander had such a season. Nov. 17

The smiling Oriole returns
I have a not-so-secret wish to have every baseball team return to whatever look (and city) they had in the 1980s. The Baltimore Orioles threw me a bone by jumping back to the smiling bird. I never thought I'd see the day. Nov. 15

Papelbon takes the next logical step
Jonathan Papelbon leaving the Red Sox via free agency was the least surprising event in the history of baseball. But I still had a few thoughts on a pitcher who had always been interesting, and always been a favorite. Nov. 11

Freese, October legends and late nights
This entire story was borne out of me wanting to document how it felt to watch the greatest World Series game I've ever seen. My World Series watching goes back to about 1988, but not seriously until 1992 or so (in case you're trying to pin down my age). Oct. 28

Baseball, rock and the order of things
After the Red Sox were wiped from the baseball season in sudden, horrifying fashion, I stepped away from the game for a bit into my other passion, music. And then they intertwined. Life is funny, right? Oct. 25

Francona the first to fall?
Not only did the Red Sox miss out on the playoffs, it looked like they'd lose their manager in the aftermath. Shortly after writing this, the option years on Terry Francona's contract were declined by Boston. Sept. 30

With a bang and a whimper
The drama and calamity present in the Red Sox finishing a historic September slide, coupled with the Rays' rise through the standings, was amazing, pathetic and all too much for a diehard to take. Sept. 29

Ryan Lavarnway and 162
Keeping the Red Sox in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays was, in game no. 161, a rookie catcher making his first start behind a major league plate. And hopes were high for this writer entering the final game of the season. Sept. 28

Losing bringing out the worst in Red Sox fans
Somehow, listening to whining Red Sox fans is much more annoying than watching them lose their grip on the season. Sept. 26

Teddy Ballgame's Greatest Hits
Wasting time on the LIFE archives turns into making a list of Ted Williams' greatest achievements on the field. And on his birthday, no less. Aug. 30

Mike Flanagan remembered
One bit that surprised me when writing this was how angry I was feeling by the time the last words were near. For a healthy persion, suicide is a selfish, stupid option. Aug. 26

Carl Yastrzemski: Powered by infinity
I have a lot of nice things to say about a player who retired when I was a year-and-a-half old. And another graphic! Aug. 23

Remembering Tony C.
I got hung up on an anecdote from a Fred Lynn radio interview, and wound up finding a random pinch-hitting performance by Tony Conigliaro. Aug. 18

Reddick, Drew and aging gracefully
Whether or not Josh Reddick is the Red Sox' right fielder of the future, J.D. Drew's time is running out. Both have handled that pretty nicely. Aug. 8

Rooting for Dontrelle Willis
Coming home from a trip on a Sunday night, I was pleasantly surprised to see Willis pitching for a contender in prime time. July 25

Red Sox, Rays play a marathon, keep me up late
There's little as memorable in baseball's regular season as games that seem like they'll never end. Also, Dustin Pedroia is amazing. July 18

An unlikely realignment plan
What fun is having a baseball blog if you can't spout off your ridiculous plans for a league that doesn't even employ you? Exactly. July 14

Trot Nixon, never an All-Star
A tongue-in-cheek look at the disturbing fact that Trot Nixon, the original Red Sox dirt dog, was never named to the American League All-Star team. July 12

Stop pretending the All-Star Game counts
This piece was inspired by some holier-than-thou hand-wringing over Derek Jeter skipping the All-Star Game, and one of my favorite quotes in the annals of sports. July 11

The brutal art of blocking the plate
The catcher blocking the path of the runner to home plate can be cruel, cringe-worthy and exciting, and it's a part of the game of baseball. July 7

Summer, baseball and your Bay State options
Coming off the excitement of the Bruins' Stanley Cup run, getting back into baseball was a little difficult. This also includes my Bay State Dreams graphic. July 3

Cliff Lee and greatness
Great pitchers are artists, and even if he's shutting down my beloved Red Sox, watching Cliff Lee in his element feels like an honor and a privilege. June 29

Looking back on an artist
Continuing Pedro Week, my thoughts on the most dominating force I've ever seen on a diamond. May 27

Pedro works and works through the Angels
I can vividly recall sitting in my cubicle and watching this game on the sports desk. I still get giddy and nervous, too. May 26

The Year of the Pitcher
When Pedro Martinez tore through the American League in 1999 ... I'm sorry, I just got flustered. I've never seen anything like it. May 24

An unknown Dodger
The first full post of Pedro Week, which was a project that popped in my head when I remembered that Pedro Martinez was awesome. No, really. May 23

Adrian Gonichiro?
Two amazing baseball players in one, apparently. May 19

The chronicles of Ichiro
The best part about going to Fenway Park is usually the Red Sox, unless Ichiro is in town with the Mariners. May 2

Dodger blues dragging down baseball
There have been many, many embarrassing folks associated with Major League Baseball through the years, and the McCourts have taken their place among them. April 21

Jed Lowrie, destroyer of worlds
The Red Sox shortstop got very hot for a while there. April 20

Adventures in baseball cards: 1988 Topps
A random gift gave me the chance to indulge my inner child for a few days. April 18

Beckett blows through the Yankees
Early in the 2011 season, Josh Beckett found his mojo. April 11

Goodbye, Manny
Manny Ramirez: talented, charismatic and, ultimately, disgraced. April 9

That felt pretty terrible
The Red Sox got off to a horrible start in 2011, and getting picked off to end a game is a bad way to keep a losing streak alive. April 7

Ranking the American League uniforms
Same as the previous, except for the Junior Circuit. Pretty self explanatory, right? April 6

Ranking the National League uniforms
What can I say? I enjoy making lists and obsessing over the minor details of a child's game. April 5

Chronicles of the eternal optimist
I know it's obvious, but when baseball teams play 162 regular season games, losing the first three or four is not critical. That is obvious, right? April 4

Another Opening Day for the Captain and Wake
I'm nothing if not sentimental, so it makes me feel good that Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield are still on the Red Sox in 2011. April 1

2011 Red Sox by the numbers
This is not a look at relevant numbers like OPS or strikeouts, but the ones the players wear on their backs. March 31

The glorious disaster that is the New York Mets
Whenever the Mets are good, it feels like an abberation. They are always entertaining, though, and that's usually because they're bad. March 28

The Red Sox' radio cure
Who needs cable when I have a radio and my imagination? Also, radio is free. March 25

The Gator leads off
Mike Greenwell hitting leadoff in 1996 is still funny to me. March 23

The Red Sox One-And-Done Team
This is a look at players who flashed through Fenway Park like a comet, leaving a trail of RBIs and highlight catches in their wake. March 21

Recalling favorites
Simply, looking at my favorite infield, outfield and pitching sets of Red Sox past. March 19

Everything you'll need for Opening Day
I don't know if I'm ever a bigger baseball fan than in March, so assembling a story listing everything that gets me excited for the next season seemed natural. March 16

Spring Training-fueled randomness
Just some thoughts while watching the Red Sox play a game that didn't matter. March 15

A little fun with lineups
As Spring Training gets underway, I take a look at what the Red Sox might look like in 2011, in different configurations. Feb. 26

Thoughts on the Bruins as theoretical champions
In my last hockey piece before I switched Saves and Shutouts to be baseball-only, I looked at some recent moves the Bruins made and wondered if it was safe to believe they could win the Stanley Cup. Also, hahahahahahahahahahHAHAHAHA!!! Feb. 22

Tim Thomas just stopped four shots, a bank robbery and a train
Tim Thomas is a good goalie, and better than every other goalie. That is all. Jan. 3


Mark Recchi's time machine
The fact that Recchi can play in the NHL at all is amazing. But to play at this high a level at his age is on another plane. Dec. 29

An ode to absurd stats
Looking at what Wayne Gretzky and Barry Bonds did at their peaks makes me dizzy sometimes. Dec. 11

Five things to ... whatever, here are the Bruins
Hockey's back! And I jumped in with a critical look at my favorite team. Oct. 9

Through three, the MLB playoffs
Some thoughts on baseball's first round, including Rocco Baldelli, Dennis Eckersley and The Freak. Oct. 8

Thanks, Mike
Mike Lowell played his last game in the major leagues at Fenway Park for the Red Sox. He was a classy guy, and he'll be missed. Oct. 2

This is the end, beautiful friend...
The penultimate nail in the Red Sox' 2010 campaign came in the form of a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning in Yankee Stadium. But, hey, sometimes, them's the breaks. Sept. 27

Tim Wakefield' standing ovation
Random acts of kindness by a fanbase really makes me happy, as when Sox fans gave Tim Wakefield a standing ovation as he entered a blowout loss to the Blue Jays. Sept. 17

Good luck, buddy
Jon Couture capped off eight years with The Standard-Times by pooping on the editor's desk. No, actually, he went out with total class, and took the time to get his desk ready for the next staffer. He's the man. Sept. 14

Manny Ramirez, and other thoughts
Houdini has nothing on Manny Ramirez's ability to weasel out of situations he's not entirely happy with. I used to love this guy. Misplaced love, obviously. Aug. 30

So much for Damon's encore
For about 24 hours, the thought of Johnny Damon back in Boston was as exciting as anything. Then he said no. Alas. Aug. 25

The downward spiral of Roger Clemens
Clemens has lived a lifetime as a bully, and that will only get you so far. I think (obviously) that you get what you've earned in this life. Aug. 20

Our long national nightmare is over
Oh, Dustin Pedroia, please make the last six weeks of the season a real race and not just a recounting of all the ways the Red Sox blew their chance. Aug. 17

What a terrible way to go
Chipper Jones might have played his last game for the Atlanta Braves, and I feel for their fans on that one. Aug. 13

Upon further review, Scutaro's cool
I couldn't have been more against the signing of Marco Scutaro in the offseason. Happily, he has proven me wrong. Not that that's new, of course. Aug. 8

Mike Lowell answers the call
Lowell has had a terrible season, and it could be his last as a Major Leaguer. So it's been great to see him make the most of another chance to play. Aug. 3

Sticky and mashed: A collaged love letter to baseball
Here, I got to interview my friend Cee, who created a fantastic collage of baseball cards on a canvas. Very impressive (her work, not mine. Mine is OK, I suppose). Aug 3

Whatever happens, what a season!
It might have been the most exciting Red Sox game of the year at that point, and I got to spend it on I-495 in my car. Still, I have a feeling I'll keep the memory of listening to that game for a long, long time. July 31

Angels fans are just as stupid as anyone
Undeserved booing makes me almost unreasonably angry when it comes to sports, so when the Angels booed Red Sox pitcher John Lackey on his return, I became upset. July 28

The Hawk and the Hall of Fame
Congratulations to Andre Dawson. His career intersected with my fandom when he was forced to limp around the diamond, but I admired him anyway. July 26

Amazingly, Jed Lowrie returns to the Sox
Lowrie went through a ridiculous number of ailments that I was sure was going to stop his baseball career cold. It hasn't, and thank goodness for that. July 23

The good folks at Fenway Park can do no wrong
I got to see Sporting C.P. take on Celtic F.C. at the "Football at Fenway" event. Needless to say, they need to have more soccer games there. July 23

The most un-Daisuke Daisuke start ever?
Daisuke Matsuzaka has to be the most frustrating pitcher the Red Sox have had since Matt Young. But at least he's effective, and lately, he's been very effective. July 20

Unveiling the Red Sox Top 100
This was a fun little project for me. I ranked from 1 to 100 my favorite Red Sox players, not in the order of how good they were, but how much I liked them. Hence Mike Greenwell ranking higher than Ted Williams. That link goes to the post, but the actual list is here. July 17

Overused sports cliches
Sportswriters, as a group, can be incredibly lazy. It takes a few fantastic writers (Joe Posnanski, for example) to lift up the entire group. The rest write things like this. July 15

The lonliest sports day of the year
The Wednesday after the All-Star Game is always horribly boring. It takes a lot of effort to make it not so. July 14

Till next time, Boss
I say goodbye to George Steinbrenner, who ruled the Yankees with an iron fist and occasionally made life miserable for the Red Sox. July 13

World Cup 2010: Spain deserved it
Oh, it killed me to see Spain win the World Cup. But I found the bright side of the situation in keeper Iker Casillas' reaction to the whole thing. July 11

The inevitable LeBron post
Is LeBron James a self-centered jerk? Maybe. But here, I detail all the reasons why he was within his rights to go to Miami. If you're from Cleveland, be warned: I slam your city quite a bit in here. July 9

Collecting cards as I inch closer to 30
Baseball card collecting has sort of been creeping back into my life for a few years, but this summer, it really blew up. I try to figure out if that's embarassing or not. July 6

Rooting for Kirk Gibson
My adopted National League team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, are kind of a mess. So here's hoping that the fiery Kirk Gibson, who was promoted to manager after A.J. Hinch was fired, can do something about that. July 3

Did Jason Varitek just nail the coffin shut?
A day after assembling my Red Sox All-Disabled team, Varitek went and broke his foot. And I wondered aloud if this would be the third time in his career that an injury of his would sink a Sox season. July 2

The Red Sox All-Disabled Team
These guys would kill the Tigers All-Disabled Team, I'll tell you that right now. Ellsbury leading off, followed by Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Mike Lowell? Josh Beckett leading the rotation? I'll take my chances. July 1

Bruins shaking things up for the better?
Here, I look at some of the off-season moves the Boston Bruins made in an effort to get deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. June 27

You win this round, Giambi
Jason Giambi, now a pinch hitter for the Colorado Rockies, resumed his old role of terrorizing the Boston Red Sox during interleague play. Oh, memories... June 24

World Cup 2010: Donovan seals the deal
Landon Donovan was already the greatest U.S. footballer ever before this tournament. His goal against Algeria was a thing of beautiy. June 23

Dennis Wideman traded to ... who cares, he's gone
Shadanfreude (shad · en · freu · de): Satisfaction or pleasure at one's misfortune. In this case, Wideman being shipped off to Florida. I will forever go on record as believing he is the worst Bruin I've ever seen. Good riddance. June 23

Woe is the Arizona Diamondbacks
It's been rough going for the Snakes since I left Phoenix. I'm pretty sure that's not the reason, though. No one gets that broken up over me. June 22

World Cup 2010: Portugal goes off, and other records
Watching Portugal score seven times against North Korea was probably my favorite part of the South Africa tournament. And it inspired me to look into some other World Cup record performances. June 21

Ignoring Manny Ramirez
Sometimes, the Boston sports media loses its mind in a very calculated way, like when Manny Ramirez came back to Fenway Park for the first time. I try to tune that stuff out. June 20

World Cup 2010: Cameroon's heartbreak
I was not expecting Cameroon-Denmark to be as entertaining as it was. And I got a kick out of how badly I wanted Cameroon to win after only watching for five minutes. June 19

World Cup 2010: Deco, Portugal as the home team
It's World Cup time! Which can only mean it's time to start rooting for Portugal until they inevitably collapse in some horrifying fashion. June 19

Every peak has a valley, and so on
Looking back at this (in August), this is my favorite piece on Kick Saves and Shutouts so far. A look a the high of watching the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup while I was in Chicago, coupled with coming home to watch the Celtics fall in Game 7 against the Los Angeles Lakers. June 18

Remembering the Mickey Mantle of the '90s
I was caught a little off-guard by how much Ken Griffey Jr.'s retirement meant to me. Mostly because I didn't like him much during his Seattle heyday. June 3

Baseball, the internet, 1993 and moments of discovery
This is a dumb little tribute to how scattershot my brain can be sometimes. I jump from Fan Graphs to Carlos Pena to Mark Langston to Cito Gaston to my Toronto Blue Jays baseball cards. June 2

In which I wax poetic on the greatest pitcher alive, Roy Halladay
Halladay throwing a perfect game seems fitting, since it seems like he should every time he takes the mound. Thanks for taking that to the National League, buddy! May 30

Being for the benefit of Big Papi
In terms of individual performance, little has made me as happy as the resurgence of David Ortiz. And oh, how the Red Sox needed it. May 27

Clay, Cardboard Gods and a ridiculous night at Fenway Park
This was, far and away, the greatest baseball game I've ever been to. I met Josh Wilker, watched Clay Buchholz toss another gem, got to sit in the second row next to the Minnesota Twins dugout, saw Daniel Bard throw 100 mph about five feet from my face, and it had great company. This wil not be topped. May 20

Ten greats I never saw
A little tribute to those who came before me, anchored by Carl Yastrzemski, who Bill Lee once said was powered by infinity. May 15

For better or worse: Live blogging Game 7
2010 Stanely Cup playoffs, Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers. No further comment. May 14

The Bruins are trying to kill me
Needless to say, after David Krejci went down, I could see the writing on the wall for the Boston Bruins. Ouch. May 13

Fondly misremembering Steve Rodriguez
A tribute to a middle infielder who played six games for the 1995 Red Sox and hit .125. May 11

The joy of the blowout
What's a good way to break out of an early season slump? Well, beating another team into submission can do the trick. May 3

Marc Savard returns: Like a big middle finger to Matt Cooke
Looking back, Savard's game-winning goal in overtime of Game 1 against the Flyers would be the highlight of the Bruins' year. It was a fun moment, to be sure. May 1

Clay Buchholz in a vacuum
Buchholz grew up a tremendous amount in 2010, and vaulted into my good graces. He's probably my favorite pitcher the Red Sox have had since Pedro Martinez left. Not that he's the best, mind you. I just love watching him. April 29

Tim Thomas' story unmatched
Tim Thomas is a great goalie who struggled through injury and lost his job to Tuukka Rask. That happens in sports. What shouldn't happen is the Bruins fans acting like a bunch of entitled little jerks. April 28

Loveably bad: My mediocre Red Sox
My favorite bad Red Sox of the early 1990s, in lineup form. Herm Winningham and Bob Zupcic, come on down! April 27

When the Bruins were more idea than a team
My first real sports writing of any kind since Super Bowl XLII, and I'm trying to find my feet here. So here's a thing I wrote about being a Bruins fan to get that out of my system. April 27