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Post-season baseball, you gotta love it!  Especially when your team makes it to the play-offs.  Yep, Boston didn’t win the division–kudos to the Tampa Bay Rays!–but they snagged the wild-card and that’s good enough for me.  I’m pretty sure they won’t make it to the World Series again, but at least I get this chance to watch my favorite players in action.  And I have to say if the Rays make it all the way this year, I’ll be watching and cheering them on.  Because, hey, I write romance, nothing I love more than a Cinderella story with a happy ending and I think the Rays are just the team to give it to me this year.

I’m not counting the Red Sox out just yet and I’m singing Tessie every chance I get and wearing my ratty 2004 World Series champions t-shirt or my not quite as bedraggled 2007 World Series champions sweatshirt and driving myself crazy following all my other Red Sox superstitions.  I fully admit to a bit of…um, “not this year” thinking, but they’ve proved me wrong before.  Like in 2004, when I thought the Yankees had them beat.  Or last year when I was sure they’d never get past Cleveland to make it to the series.   In fact, they did it as recently as Tuesday night–er, early Wednesday morning–when they beat the Angels in their first post-season game. 

So go on guys, prove me wrong some more!  I promise, I won’t mind at all!

Oh, before I forget, is it just me, or is every other Red Sox fan of the female persuasion crushing on Jacoby Ellsbury?  I have to tell you, if I were still a young girl, his picture would be up in my room just like Tony C’s was once upon a time.  Not only is he gorgeous, he can hit, run like the wind, and when he makes one of those diving catches that are becoming something of a trademark for him, well, shivers and goosebumps!  And now, I see on the Boston Red Sox site that he’s started a blog on MLBlogs, Jacoby Ellsbury’s Postseason Blog.  Hmmm…bet he gets a gazillion comments from the female contingent of Red Sox Nation.  Beyond that, I wish him all the luck in the world with his blog and I hope he gets to continue writing new entries for a long time–at least until the major league baseball season is truly over for this year!

I don’t know what made me do it, but this morning as I was eating breakfast and entertaining myself surfing the Internet, I turned on the TV and guess what I found?  Baseball!  Yep, my boys were playing their season opener again the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo.  How come I didn’t know that?  I would’ve been up at the crack of dawn if I had known ESPN was going to broadcast the game. 

And believe me, I will be tomorrow morning!

So, I came into the game late, around the eighth inning, and the Red Sox were behind.  Bummer, but I started singing Tessie as I poured another cup of coffee and it wasn’t long before Tessie worked her magic again.  In the ninth, Brandon Moss–a last minute replacement for J. D. Drew–hit his first homerun in the majors and tied the game.

Believe me, that was better than ten cups of coffee to get me going!

Then, when the game went into extra innings, I got to see my favorite player, Manny Ramirez, do his thing.  And oh boy, was it a thing of beauty!  With Julio Lugo on second base, Oakland decided to walk David Ortiz and take their chances with Manny instead.  Wrong decision on their part, but I love it when that happens, especially when it plays out like it did today!  Manny hit a double–which came close to being a homerun–Big Papi and Lugo rounded third and headed for home and the Red Sox won their first game of the season.  Woo-hoo!  

The thing is…I really don’t get it when teams intentionally walk Ortiz and take their chances with Manny.  It always makes me shake my head.  Just doesn’t make sense to me, but then, like Oakland manager, Bob Geren, said, “they’re both great hitters and you have to pick one or the other.”  And I guess, in the case of Ortiz and Manny, it sometimes seems like the classic no-win scenario.  I’m just glad they play for my team.

So, baseball’s back and with it comes the Red Sox, Manny, and unlimited hope for another winning season.  God’s in His heaven, smiling down at all us baseball fans, and at least for the moment, all’s right in my world…

play ball!

Only a day and a half until the pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training–those that aren’t already there, of course, like the inspirational Jon Lester–and with each passing minute, I’m getting more excited.  Not just because baseball season is fast approaching, after all opening day is still more than a month and a half away, but to me, that day in cold, dreary February when the pitchers and catchers report, is the epitome of what spring is all about–new birth, endless possibilities, and a brighter, warmer outlook…er, weather forecast.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, but the way I see it, if I can’t have cold and snow, give me warmth and sunshine.  If I still lived in Maine–where I’m told they got another 8 inches of the white stuff this past weekend–I’d be willing to wait for spring because, hey, what else can you do up there?  And besides, the long wait makes it that much sweeter when it does finally arrive.

But down here in North Carolina, where we’ve had maybe an inch of snow total this winter, and we’ve been plagued with cloudy, gloomy weather for the last, oh, millenium, or so, I’m more than ready for spring. 

And spring to me, means baseball!

So, I’ve moved the official site of the Boston Red Sox up to the top of my favorites list and I’ve been checking out various sports blogs for a little entertainment.  It won’t be long, I’m sure, until the first thing I do in the morning is turn on Sports Center and suffer through the seemingly constant basketball coverage, just to get a minute or two of baseball news.

But right now, I’m watching the blogs and the Red Sox home page, both of which are starting to heat up like the weather in spring.  Here’s the latest news (in no particular order of importance):

1.  YOUK!  Kevin Youkilis just signed a one year, three million dollar contract and will be back at first base this year.  Quite possibly the best news I’ve heard in this long, long offseason, because IMO, he’s one of the most underrated–and underpaid!–players in baseball.

2.  Curt Schilling is already on the DL and likely will be out until at least the All-Star break with right shoulder problems.  I’m not sure how I feel about this…Curt’s an asset to our pitching staff, granted, but I think it might have been a good thing if he’d retired this year.  Sorry Curt!  You’ve been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw that commercial you made when you came to Boston–you know, the one where you’re hitchhiking?  Can’t remember if it was Dodge or Ford or even Chevrolet, but I remember when the truckdriver picks you up and asks where you’re going, you answered (paraphrased), “Boston.  I’ve got an eighty-six year curse to break.”  When I saw that commercial, I got a funny feeling that you just might do it–and I was right!  So, while I value you for everything you’ve brought to the Red Sox–including your um…outspoken bluntness, shall we say?–I still think your best bet for this year may have been retirement.  Too many injuries over too many years, and no matter how much I love baseball, it’s still not worth your health.

3.  Moonshot Manny!  From everything I’ve read, he seems more relaxed and happier than ever that he’s a part of this team and I think the team will only benefit from that.  I’m not happy that it’s his last year under contract with Boston because as you know, I’m a squee! fangirl! of his and can’t imagine the Red Sox without him.  But I’m glad he’s more content than he has been in the past and well, you know, the Red Sox still hold options for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.  *fingers and toes crossed as I pray to the baseball gods for the owners not to let you go*

In the words of Jon Lester:  “It’s going to be another fun year, and hopefully, we can go do it again.” 

Oh yeah!

And from Tessie by The Dropkick Murphys: 

“Boston, you know we love you madly,
hear the crowd roar to your sound!
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you,
You know we couldn’t live without you,
Red Sox, you are the only only only!”

  

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the legend of Tessie and asked all of Red Sox Nation to start singing the song again in an effort to help our boys win.  Well, I don’t have a clue if that’s the reason they won the ALCS and are playing in the World Series, but something definitely happened.

And while that mysterious “something” was happening, I was singing Tessie at the top of my lungs…every chance I got.  To the point I think my husband–a Yankees fan (my secret shame!)–is ready to either duct-tape my mouth shut or consult a lawyer about divorcing me due to irreconcilable differences or maybe even cruel and unusual punishment.

The thing is, I can’t stop singing it now.  No matter what.  Not even if I tried!  I’ve been a Red Sox fan for a long time–longer than I’ve been married–and singing Tessie seems to be working so I’ll continue to sing.  I’m not willing to take any chances when it comes to my boys and winning.  Besides, I like that song, and I love to sing–though I’m the original “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” gal.

So, I sing it during the games–actually, this may be a form of self-defense against those awful Fox sports announcers.  Just a little aside here, can you people please drop the verbal love affair with Troy Tulowitzki?  It’s sickening and I really don’t want to hear it any more!

Okay, back to what I was saying, I’ve got Tessie in my CD player in my car, in my CD player at home, and “Fever Pitch” in my DVD player.  I sing Tessie in the shower, I even wake up at night with it going through my head.  And it seems to be working!

<crossing fingers and knocking on wood to negate the jinx>

Not to take anything away from my boys, they’ve been playing their hearts out and I freely admit I may have misjudged the level of their drive and determination.  In my defense, I never put down their abilities–well, okay, I jumped on Gagne a time or two, but not without reason–just their heart, their desire to win, their cohesiveness as a team.  And they proved me wrong!  Thank goodness!

So, to all of you who are members of Red Sox Nation, keep singing and keep believing!

Okay, the Red Sox lost to the Yankees last night–again!  The season is rolling to a close and those damned Yankees are making us look like fools.  If we don’t do something, Boston’s going to replace the Yankees as the biggest chokers in baseball, topping their 2004 downfall in the ALCS when they were ahead three games and lost the next four to our beloved Sox.

That’s just wrong and I have two words to say to all of Red Sox Nation: Tessie Up!

This takes a bit if explaining–especially if you’re not a Sox fan–so I hope you’ll stick with me.  It has to do with superstitions.  If you’re a baseball fan, you gotta have ’em.  I’ve got a gazillion where the Red Sox are concerned.  Given last night’s game, I’d have to say mine aren’t working, so I’m calling out to Red Sox Nation to Tessie Up!  Because our boys need it.  Desperately.  

Where is this coming from?  Well, this morning, I was following one of my own personal superstitions and reading the comments written by some of the Yankee fans to an article on AOL Sports about last night’s game.  One of them said–and I’m paraphrasing here–“The ghost of Babe Ruth is back!”

Meaning, of course, that the Curse of the Bambino is alive and well and living in Red Sox Nation.

Can’t argue with that, especially since the Yankees have hacked away at our lead in the AL East until it’s down to a measly 4 1/2 games–and I’m afraid it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  If it ever does get better.  So, we’ve got to do something to stop the Babe.  We’ve got to counter-attack with Tessie.

What’s Tessie?  Well, roughly, “Tessie” is a song from the early 20th century that was adopted by the “Royal Rooters,” a group of Red Sox supporters as their rally cry.  Some people believe the singing of “Tessie” is the reason Boston was going to and winning the World Series pretty regularly back in the early 1900’s, back before 1918 when Ruth was sold to the Yankees.  I’ve even seen it posited that the Curse of the Bambino is nothing compared to the Curse of Tessie.  “Tessie” is also credited with the 86 year drought because they stopped singing it after 1918.  Then, in 2004, the Dropkick Murphy’s released an updated version of the song and when people started singing it at the games, Boston won the World Series again.

So, have they stopped playing “Tessie” at Fenway?  Or, could it be that Tessie is a jealous ghost and we’re not giving her enough attention?  If the fans at Fenway–and oh, how I wish I could join you–start singing Tessie’s accolades again, not just after the game but during it, will we salvage this season that’s slipping through our fingers?

Or, are they already singing it and Tessie’s ghost is getting her butt kicked by Babe Ruth’s ghost the same way we’re getting ours kicked by the Yankees?  (I really can’t say because I’m down here in NC and I have to rely on ESPN’s pretty worthless coverage of the Red Sox.)

Thing is, we have to do something to give our boys a boost.  So, to all the Fenway Faithful, Tessie Up!  Don’t just smile when you hear it played after the game and think, “oh, what a catchy tune,” but open your mouths and sing.  And not just when the game is over.  Belt it out at the top of the second, the bottom of the sixth, whenever, and get all the people around you singing too.

Don’t know the words?  You can find them here (along with a better explanation than mine):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessie

And let’s see if we can’t stop this humiliating downward spiral before it’s too late.

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